Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum 明孝陵
The Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum, where Emperor Ming Taizu (respected title of Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang) and his queen were buried, lies at the northern foot of Mount Zijin (Mount Purple Gold), adjacent to Dr. Sun Yat-sen's Mausoleum on the east and Meihua (Chinese Plum) Mountain on the south.
With a more than 22.5 kilometers wall, the mausoleum is the largest emperor mausoleum in Nanjing. Most of its ground wood-structured buildings were destroyed in 1853, with the brick and stone buildings still existent including Rectangular city, Inner Red Gate and Jinyue Tablet.
The sacred way started from Sifangchang (Rectangular city) which was a pavilion where a splendid carved stone stele for memory of Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang was enshrined, on which hymn by his fourth son was inscribed. Now, the top of the pavilion was gone. In the middle of the 1800-meter-long winding sacred way, there are 6 kinds and 12 pairs of animals guarding the tomb.
Further beyond is a pair of decorative columns called Huabiao in Chinese. Four couples of ministers and generals have been standing there for centuries to accompany their His Majesty beneath.
On an inscribed stone tablet outside of the gate of the mausoleum, an official notification of the local government in the Qing dynasty (1644-1911) ordered to protect the tomb. Inside of the gate, there is a pavilion in which 5 steles stand. The one in the middle was inscribed with 4 Chinese characters, which was written by Emperor Kangxi in his third inspection tour. Behind the pavilion, there used to be other annexes, however most of them collapsed into relics from which the original splendor can still be traced