Ming Ancestors Mausoleum
|Ming Ancestors Mausoleum|
|Town or city||Xuyi County, Huaian City, Jiangsu Province, China|
The Ming Ancestors Mausoleum (Chinese: 明祖陵; pinyin: míngzǔlíng) is the first imperial mausoleum complex of the Ming dynasty, and a cenotaph located north of the former Sizhou City, Yangjiadun, in present-day Xuyi County, Huaian City, by Hongze Lake, north of Huai River Jiangsu Province, China. It was built by Zhu Yuanzhang, the founding emperor of the Ming dynasty, in 1385, for his great-great-grandfather (posthumously styled Emperor Xuan), great-grandfather (posthumously styled Emperor Heng) and grandfather (posthumously styled Emperor Yu). It is also the actual burial site of Zhu Chuyi, Zhu Yuanzhang's grandfather.
In 1680 during the Qing dynasty, the Yellow River changed its course and merged with the Huai River. The quickly accumulated river sediment blocked the flow of the Huai, creating the large Hongze Lake, which submerged the mausoleum complex, along with the nearby city of Sizhou.
Not until the dry season of 1966 (or, according to other sources, 1963 or 1964) did the mausoleum surface. It was initially excavated in 1976. In 1980, State Administration of Cultural Heritage and Jiangsu Provincial Department of Culture allocated funds to repair it. The original Xiang Hall and Pei Hall had been destroyed and had no remains. They surfaced because of drought in May 2011.
In front of the mausoleum there are several gravestones and ornamental columns which are preserved. Today, the total area of the mausoleum is 351,000 square meters. It contains over 9700 trees, including pines, cypresses, poplars and willows on the banks. An arch bridge and five exhibition rooms have been newly built. The region of Yangze river and Huai river has been affected by serious drought since May 2011, making the water level of Hongze Lake decline almost to the dead water level. The nine arches of the Ming Ancestors Mausoleum, beams under the arches, and most of the top of the paved path leading to the mausoleum are buried deep under the silt in the pond, only showing an outline. In order to protect the cultural relics after being unearthed, the site was submerged.
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