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Sacred Way

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The Sacred Way, also named Divine Road or Shen Dao in Chinese, was built to lead to the ChangLing mausoleum. Chinese emperors were known as the Son of Heaven. After their death, the funeral procession also took the path through the Sacred Road as a symbol of the passed emperor's journey to heaven in the afterlife. The Sacred Way is a path, 7 kilometers long and consisting of the huge Memorial Stone Archway, the Great Red Gate, the Stele Pavilion, the Stone Creatures and the Dragon and Phoenix Gate. Built in 1540 during the Ming Dynasty, the Memorial Stone Arch is the largest and earliest of its kind. It has six poles and five archways. The Great Red Gate has three archways and serves as the main gate for the whole imperial cemetery. Further along the path, visitors will find a stele pavilion.

The stone statues lined on each side are 12 human figures and 24 animals which are lion, camel, elephant, xiezhi, qilin and horse. There are 4 of each of these animals: two standing and two sitting. The lion symbolizes awesome solemnity because of its ferocity. The camel and elephant suggest the vastness of the territory controlled by the imperial court, because they are dependable transport in desert and tropical regions. The xiezhi is said to possess a sixth sense to tell right and wrong and so protects against evil. The qilin, an auspicious symbol, was placed on two sides. The horse, as the emperor's mount, is absolutely indispensable.
Location: located in Ming Tombs, about 50 kilometers north of Beijing center
Opening Hours: 08:30 – 17:30

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