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Day-trip: The Western Qing Tombs
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Both Eastern & Wesern Qing Tombs are still little visited despite offering considerably more to visitors than tombs of the Ming. The natural scenery surrounding the Western Qing Tombs is the best.

The Imperial tomb site of Qing Dynasty were first selected at Zunhua, 125km (78 miles) east of Beijing. The first to be buried was Shunzhi -- the first Qing emperor to reign from Beijing -- in 1663. It is now called the Eastern Qing Tombs.

The Yongzheng emperor broke with tradition and ordered his tomb to be constructed in the Yongning Mountains of Hebei Province (140km southwest of Beijing), away from his father (the Kangxi emperor). His son, the Qianlong emperor, decided to be buried near his grandfather and that thereafter burials should alternate between the eastern and western sites, although this was not followed consistently.

The first tomb, the Tai Ling, was completed in 1737, 2 years after the Yongzheng reign. The last imperial interment was in 1998, when the ashes of Aisin Gioro Henry Puyi, the last emperor, were moved to a commercial cemetery here. He and 2 consorts were added to 4 emperors, 4 empresses, 4 princes, 2 princesses, and 57 concubines. The site is rural, more densely forested than the Eastern Qing Tombs, overlapped by orchards and agriculture, and with chickens, goats, and the odd rabbit to be encountered.

The Chang Ling (tomb of the Jiaqing emperor) and Chong Ling (tomb of the Guangxu emperor) are also open, as well as the Chang Xi Ling with the extraordinary sonic effects of its Huiyin Bi -- an echo wall where, as the only visitor, you can try out the special effects available at the Temple of Heaven.

Meet at the China Culture Center for coach transportation.

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