Zhaoling Mausoleum of the Tang Dynasty

Zhao Mausoleum in Xian is the burial site of Emperor Taizong of the Tang Dynasty and his empress, Empress Wende (aka Empress Zhangsun). The mausoleum is located on the peak of Jiuzuo Mountain in Liquan County, Xianyang City, Shaanxi Province, about 70 km from Xi’an City, and 25 km from Xi’an Xianyang International Airport.

Following the traditional imperial burial customs in the Han Dynasty, the Zhao Mausoleum also had space allotted for the burial of relatives, meritorious officials, and military generals. From the Zhenguan period to the Kaiyuan period, hundreds of prominent figures were interred there, forming a vast imperial burial ground.

With its construction spanning over 107 years, the mausoleum covers an area of about 20 square kilometers, with over 180 accompanying tombs, making it one of the most extensive imperial mausoleums in Chinese history. If you want a Xi’an trip covering notable imperial mausoleums, Zhaoling Mausoleum is worth your visit.

Up to now, only several accompanying tombs in the Zhao Mausoleum are open to the public. Zhao Mausoleum Museum was constructed near the Tomb of Li Ji and opened to the public in 1978 to display cultural relics unearthed from the mausoleum. Each attraction within the Zhao Mausoleum is sold with a separate ticket.

Zhaoling Mausoleum of the Tang Dynasty
Zhaoling Mausoleum of the Tang Dynasty

Highlights to See in the Zhao Mausoleum Museum

  • Location:In front of the tomb of Li Ji (Xu Maogong) on the west side of Yanxia Town, Liquan County, Xianyang City, Shaanxi Province.
  • Opening hours:9:00-17:00
  • Entrance fee:CNY 25 per person
  • Recommended visiting time:about 3 hours

There are four exhibition halls in the Zhao Mausoleum Museum, featuring three main themes, which are the Exhibition of Essence Relics, Zhao Mausoleum Stone Tablet Forest, and Tang Dynasty Tomb Murals.

Exhibition of Essence Relics

The Exhibition Hall of Essence Relics displays over 200 precious artifacts excavated from 16 accompanying tombs of the Zhao Mausoleum complex, offering insights into various cultures, economy, politics, military, and societal life in the early Tang Dynasty.

Exhibition of Stone Tablet Forest (the top highlight of the museum)

The Stone Tablet Forest in Zhao Mausoleum features 40 surviving stone tablets and over 40 tomb epitaphs excavated from the mausoleum complex, offering valuable materials for studying calligraphy and stone carving art in the early Tang Dynasty. It is the best highlight of the Zhao Mausoleum Museum thanks to housing a vast array of Tang Dynasty calligraphic masterpieces authored by esteemed writers.

Some of the most notable stone inscriptions and epitaphs include the “Li Ji Stele” commissioned by Emperor Gaozong (Li Zhi) for Xu Maogong, “Wen Yanbo Stele,” penned by the renowned calligrapher Ouyang Xun, the “Fang Xuanling Stele” written by Chu Suiliang, and “Six Steeds Stele of Zhao Mausoleum”.

Stone Tablets in Zhao Mausoleum Museum
Stone Tablets in Zhao Mausoleum Museum

Exhibition of Tang Dynasty Tomb Murals

The Exhibitions Hall of Tang Dynasty Tomb Murals displays 37 precious murals excavated from five accompanying tombs in the Zhao Mausoleum complex. These murals are skillfully composed, with vivid colors and expressive brushwork, depicting rich life scenes. The murals feature lively dancers, musician figures, graceful maids, various attendants, horses, and noblewomen traveling in ox-drawn carriages.

Murals in Zhao Mausoleum Museum
Murals in Zhao Mausoleum Museum

How to Get to Zhao Mausoleum

  • Take a high-speed train from Xi’an North Railway Station to Liquan South Railway Station, then take taxi to get to the mausoleum.
  • Or, you can take a bus from Xi’an North Bus Station to Yuanjiacun Village, then take a taxi or walk to the Zhao Mausoleum Museum.