Zhaoling Tombs - Part I
At the northern end of Shenyang's city centre, lies the Beiling Huyuan or Northern Tombs Park, a vast green space with large lakes and behind these, the beautiful and still peaceful Imperial Tomb complex, inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2003 (not in 1982 as local guides would have you believe) as an addition to the Ming and Qing Tombs in the Beijing area.
There are two further tomb complexes to the north-east of the city, as well, the Fuling tomb to the east of Shenyang, burial place of that great Jurchen warrior-king Nurhaci, and the Yongling Tombs some 50km east near Fushun, where earlier ancestors are buried.
The Zhaoling Tomb, in Beiling Park, is where Huantaiji (died in 1643) and his wife Empress Xiaoduanwen are both interred under a huge mound' known as the Treasure Mountain. The stunning complex, of 38 buildings, in front of the burial mound was constructed for successors to worship their venerated ancestor, and was constructed between 1643 to 1651.
In true north-eastern fashion, the whole ensemble is oriented from south to north. These tombs were direct architectural and design successors to the Chinese Ming tradition seen in Beijing and elsewhere. Similar plans and architecture can be seen in Seoul and Suwon (and elsewhere in Korea), albeit with sufficient fusion with Korean traditions to have their own Korean style.
As is common in much of China, many of the buildings are reconstructions, faithful copies of the originals. The Danming Hall, for example, was constructed in 1939 after being destroyed by fire in 1936.