Elephants, lions, camels, horses guard the avenue leading to the
actual Imperial Ming Tombs in Nanjing. 

The Imperial Ming Tombs are maybe  the most amazing feature of Nanjing. They are called also Ming Xiaolin and it is with this name that they are signalled in the few road signs in English.

The Imperial avenues leave you amazed as you really feel you are entering in the burial place of some imaginary emperors of the world.

Elephants, lions, camels, horses guard the avenue leading to the
actual Imperial Ming Tombs in Nanjing.

They represent the huge size of the Empire, the different exotic species well represent the extension of the Empire, extending at the time from the borders of the Middle East to the Far East (camels and elephants are emblematic).

Nanjing was the Chinese Capital of China Empire before Beijing and this explains why the Imperial Ming Tombs are situated in Nanjing. 
An Elephant at the entrance of the Ming Tombs:
the different exotic species well represent the extension of the Empire

Two animals of each species stand in identical shape and in perfect symmetry one in front of the other one at the side of the paved way,
two of the same specie are crouched in waiting few meters way.

They are huge, all carved from only one huge boulder, their eyes and mouths are clearly visible and some traces of red paint are still colouring the faces of some mythological bears- unicorns.

These statues are an amazing masterpiece of art, they look as if they are nearly alive.

When you have walked through these imposing animals and you expect to finally see the tomb you realize you are only halfway to the actual tombs. 

Two gigantic statues of two high ranked imperial civil servants stand at both side of the avenue

A long shaded avenue run through the park from the entrance to the actual Imperial Ming Tombs for around three kilometers.

The avenue is paved in stone and it is extremely impressive.

After having passed in front of more than 30 animals, the guard of honour of the emperor take the place of the animals at the side of the large paved avenue. 

Two gigantic statues of two high ranked imperial civil servants stand at both side of the avenue and after them the huge statues of two Imperial Army Generals are waiting. 

Only at this point you are halfway to the orange and red walls surrounding the imperial tombs.

The red walls, the yellow tiles and the shape of the main building are immediately reminiscent of the Forbidden City in Beijing. 

Similar is also the design of the Imperial Palace here in Nanjing: where one courtyard is followed by another one exactly like in Beijing.

Inside the Main Gate protecting the Ming Tombs.
The wooden decorated cieling is magnificient (below)
The palace is guarded by a huge bronze tortoise  and at the end of the old walls a huge stone gate with its unmissable pagoda protects the tumulus where the mortal remains of the emperor are buried.

It is a wonderfully built climax the one skilfully built by the architects of the time. 

Like a crescendo you finally arrive at the burial side with the acquired feelings of your own humble nature if compared with the grandness of the emperor
who reigned on a kingdom so big and rich to posses lions, elephants wonderful horses and even some mythological animals to add some exotic charm to his empire.

Sun Yan-tse (the founder and first president of the Republic of China) Mausoleum has been designed following the design and the inspiration of the Ming Tombs. 

Sun Yan-tse Mausoleum is also in Nanjing, on the hills overlooking the Ming Tombs.

It looks like Sun Yan-tse Mausoluem represents very well this new Twenty Century hero who took place of the old Emperor, even the position and the grandness of the Mausoleum seem to shade the majest of the Ming Tombs.

It is to conclude that Sun Yan-tse Mausoleum and the Ming Tombs have certainly a very important place in the history of China and of Nanjing.

The wonderful imposing avenue leading to the Ming Tombs in Nanjing.

Are you planning to travel to China?

Read my page My China Project where you can find the list of all of my posts and the destinations covered in this blog in China.

Read also the page Visit China and the page What to know before to travel to China.

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