Zhaoling Mausoleum

2021-10-26 10:56:00 , Source : The Government Website of Shaanxi Province

Zhaoling is the mausoleum of Li Shimin, Emperor Taizong of Tang Dynasty (618-907); he was one of the most brilliant rulers in Chinese history. Located in Jiuzong Mountain, 83 kilometers (51.5miles) from downtown Xi’an , Shaanxi, Zhaoling is the largest among the 18 mausoleums of the Tang Dynasty. It is also the largest royal mausoleum in the world.

Covering an area of 87.5 square miles, Zhaoling has 190 satellite tombs that have been verified with 37 which have been excavated. The owners of the satellite tombs include famous ministers, royal families and high officials. All five forms of satellite burials in history have been represented here thereby justifying Zhaoling as the most typical imperial mausoleum in China. The configuration of Emperor Taizong's tomb as it overlooks the satellite ones symbolizes the utmost authority of the emperor.

The style of Zhaoling as it is set against the mountain is a miniature of the renovation in Tang Dynasty. Record has it that before her death, Empress Wende told Emperor Taizong that her burial site should be the stone carvings, Zhao Mausoleum placed against a mountain so that there would be no need to build a tomb. After her burial, the Emperor wrote on the tombstone that an emperor regarded the whole world as his family. Why be bound to a mausoleum? In the mausoleum against Jiuzong Mountain, there was no gold or jade or anything precious except for some earthen and wooden wares. These were placed here to pacify thieves; their existence or loss was not important. From the excavated parts of the mausoleum, we could now say that the whole project was lavish instead of thrifty. Therefore, in setting the tomb against the mountain they protected it from theft rather than the initial propose as requested by the empress.

The construction of the mausoleum lasted 107 years beginning with burial of Empress Wende in 636 until completion in 741. Rich cultural relics were left on the ground and underground. Zhaoling witnessed the development from the beginning of Tang to its eventual prosperity. It is also a valuable treasury to help us know the culture, politics and economy of the Chinese feudal society; kept here are large quantities of calligraphy, sculpture and painting works. The epitaphs here written by reputed calligraphers can be said to be the norm of calligraphy in the beginning of Tang Dynasty. Murals here are portraiture of the real life in Tang Dynasty with a romantic touch. Glazed pottery figures are daintily designed with bright colors.

By climbing to the top of Jiuzong Mountain, with the star-studded tombs under your eyes, you will feel like an emperor of old inspecting his ministers!


1. Basic info

Address: Jiuzong Mountain, Liquan County, Xianyang


March 1 ~ November 30: CNY 40

December 1 ~ the end of next February: CNY 25

Opening Time: 09:00—17:00

2. Transportation

From Xi’an:

1. Take the long distance bus to Yanxia or Zhaozhen Town at Xi’an West Bus Station and get off at Zhaoling Museum.

2. Take the long distance bus to Liquan or Qianxian County at Xi’an West Bus Station and get off at Liquan County, take the local scheduled bus to Beitun Village and get off at Zhaoling Museum.

From Xianyang:

Take the long distance bus to Yanxia or Zhaozhen Town from Xianyang Bus Station and get off at Zhaoling Museum.

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