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Tomb of Emperor Yong Le(Chang Ling)

Yong Le was the first Ming emperor to be buried in the sacred area (1424). His remains along with those of his wife lie within the huge unexcavated tumulus. “Chang” was the burial name of Yong Le. Entry to the sacred area is through three huge doorways set into a vast gate which is part of the wall enclosing the grounds and tomb. Inside, to the right of the courtyard, is a twin-roofed pavilion enclosing a Qing steie mounted on a mythical scaled beast that looks like an overfed dragon. There is a fine coffered ceiling.

At the end of the first courtyard stands the Gate of Eminent Favors, or Ling En Men, with three doorways and a single roof of yellow glazed tiles. As you pass down the stairway on the other side of the gate, note the center ramp in white marble with figures in bas-relief: a coiled dragon, clouds encircling mountains, horses fields Note also to the right and left the model pavilion with a wall of glazed tiles; the low roof presents fin ideal opportunity to photograph the roof figurines.

At the end of the long courtyard with large pine trees dotted on either side stands the Hall of eminent Favors, or Ling Eu Dian, a twin-roofed building on a three-tiered what~ marble terrace with balm- trades all around. three sets of stairs lead up to the building, the central stairway with a marble ramp depicting the same motif m before but in a slightly different design. Inside the hall, 32 giant columns made from single tree trunks (from South China) supported the roof by means of enormous cross beams. There is a fine coffered ceiling. On the opposite side of the hall there is a screen wall hiding the exit from view. When you leave this building note the two magnificent pine trees to the left of the path. Immediately ahead is another gate with three doorways leading to a final large courtyard. The path leads through a small portico past some beautiful trees on either side to a sacrificial altar with five ritual vessels. Behind is the Square Tower, or Fang Cheng, with the Ming Lou Pavilion on top. There is tunnel sloping stele and the tumulus. The tumulus has not been excavated, and its probable contents have aroused the curiosity of archeologists around the world.

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