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Home > Attractions > Cultural

Qian Mausoleum


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china.org.cn says
Qian Mausoleum (Qian Ling), the united tomb of Tang Emperor Gaozong (Li zhi by name) and Empress Wuzetian, lies on Mt. Liangshan in the north of Qian County, Shaanxi Province, 80km west of Xi'an. It is the best intact under protection among the 18 mausoleums of Tang Dynasty.

Qian Mausoleum was built on hills and copied by the capital City, Chang'an. It is with outside and inside city walls. The outside wall is 40km in circumference. The inside wall, with a coverage of 2.3 million square meters, has four gates-the Blue Dragon Gate (east), the White Tiger Gate (west), the Phoenix Gate (south) and the Tortoise Gate (north).In the mausoleum, there are many large and exquisitely carved stones, such as ornamental columns, animals with wings, ostrich, lead-horse men, mysterious stele with no characters, Stele of Record of Reporting to the Emperor and 61 foreign chieftains statuaries.

Two ornamented octagonal columns mark the south entrance and the mythical winged horses are the first of the sculptures. The pair of ostriches was a gift from Afghanistan; of the five pairs of horses that are next along the route only three still have their attendant grooms. Ten pairs of military figures bearing swords stand guard along the path. Further life-sized sculptures of men represent the sixty one foreign emissaries that attended the Emperor's funeral and were created on the instructions of Empress Wu Zetian, who wanted a permanent reminder of their visit. Each figure is depicted in a long robe with a wide belt and wearing boots. The name of each individual and the country he represented is carved on the back of the statue. It is not known how or why but regrettably each statue has been decapitated at some time in the distant past.

The Qijie Bei (Tablet of Seven Elements), so called because it symbolizes the Sun, Moon, Metal, Wood, Water, Earth and Fire, carries an inscription composed by the Empress Wu Zetian that describes the achievements of her late husband. The calligraphy is that of Emperor Zhongzong whom the Empress deposed but later returned to the throne following her own eventual retirement from office. An unusual feature is the Blank Tablet that has carved dragons and oysters upon it but no inscription, there is nothing like this at any other royal tomb site. It is thought that this tablet was erected upon the orders of the Empress and that it would eventually bear a description of her achievements, to be recorded by some future generation. Maybe she thought that in this way only her good deeds would be remembered and recorded for posterity!

Admission: The admission fee is 45 yuan from March to November, and 25 from December to February

Opening hours: It opens from 8 am to 6 pm.

How to get there: You can take Tourism Bus No.3 in Xi'an Railway Station to Qian Mausoleum. The bus starts at 8 am from the Xi'an Railway Station and leaves Qian Mausoleum at 3 pm.
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You can also visit Tomb of Crown Prince Zhanghuai, Tomb of Prince Yide, Tomb of Princess Yongtai.

  • Average cost: 70RMB

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