The first gate you will see when you enter graveyard of MingTomb is the Civil and Military Gate, and followed by two well pavilions on each side of the wall, 3) Eastern Well Pavilion and 4) Western Well Pavilion.
Civil and Military Gate: In 1998, the Administration of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen's Mausoleum had its original appearance restored according to the burial system of the Ming Tomb of the Ming Dynasty. At the foot of the gate there is a "Special Notice" tablet inscribed in Japanese, German, Italian, English, French and Russian. It was jointly erected for the preservation of the Ming Tomb in the first year under Xuantong Reign of the Qing Dynasty (AD 1909) by the taotai (head) of Liangjiang Westernization Bureau and the magistrate of Jiangning Prefecture.
In the yard formed by Civil and Military Gate and the front gate of the Sacrificial Hall, there were two wells sheltered under pavilions in Ming Dynasty. In the Ming dynasty, water drawn from these two wells for the use of cleaning sacrificial animals and cooking meals for the imperial court.
In Chinese: 文武方门， wen wu fang men
Next: The Imperial Kitchen
Plum Blossom Hill is located southwest of the Ming Xiaoling Tomb, a hill that has ten thousand plum gardens, 400 acres of land with 230 varieties of species. This hill is famous as the tomb of Sun Quan, an emperor of the three kingdoms. During my visit in Oct, there were nothing much to see here because there were no plum blossom during October. Based on some blog, best time to visit is around end of February and beginning of Mach. You will see plenty of plum blossom here.
A tradition Chinese Pavilion is built on the hill, and you can have a city view from the pavilion.
In Chinese: 梅花山， mei hua shan
" The Tablet Tower of Great Merits was built on a square base in the 11th year under the Yongle Reign (AD 1413), which contributes to its general name Square City. Its roof has been destroyed. It houses "The Tablet of Great Merits of the Ming Tomb of the Great Ming Dynasty", which was erected for Zhu Yuanzhang by his forth son Zhu Di, the third Ming emperor. The inscription has altogether 2746 characters written by Zhu Di in praise of the merits and achievements of his father. This is the largest tablet in Nanjing. "
Note From the Signboard.
In Chinese: 神功圣德碑楼， shen gong sheng de bei lou
This 57.5 metre long, 26 metre, single-arch bridge lies in front of the Rectangular Citadel & Ming Tower. After Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang died, his coffin was carried across the bridge to be buried in the small hill behind the tower.
The so-called Treasure Mound is 325m to 400m in diameter at the bottom and lies behind the imposing Rectangular Citadel & Ming Tower. It was originally a small hill called Dulongfu (single dragon mound) and is where the tomb of Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang and his wide Empress Ma are buried.
The Ming Tower is built on top of the Rectangular Citadel and is the commanding building of the Ming Tomb. There are three arched doors in its southern wall and one in each of the other three walls. The inside floor is paved with square bricks. It originally had a yellow glazed double-eaved roof which was destroyed during the reign of Qing Emperor Xianfeng.
The original Sacrificial Hall was built in 1383 for the memorial tablets of Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang. It was a huge wooden structure with 9 bays in width and 5 deep with 56 stone column bases which still exist today. This building was destroyed by war in 1853 and this building was then built in its place.
Placed before the Sacrificial Hall on each side of its gate, the pair of Sacrificial Censers are actually two small temple-shaped buildings made of yellow and green glazed materials. Pieces of paper on which characters were inscribed to call back the spirit of the dead) were burnt for sacrificial ceremonies.
Originally the middle gate in front of the sacrificial hall, the original tablet hall was destroyed, with only the Sumeru steps left behind. The existing tablet hall was built in the late Qing dynasty. The tablet inscribed with “Governance modelled after prosperous Tang and Song Dynasties” erected in 1699 was personally written by emperor Kangxi during his inspection tour in southern China.
This gate is the first gate to the graveyard of the Ming Tomb of Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang. At the foot of the gate is a "Special Notice" tablet inscribed in Japanese, German, Italian, English, French and Russian. It was jointly erected for the preservation of the Ming Tomb in 1909.
The Golden Water Bridge, also called Five-Dragon Bridge, is located on the same north-south axis as the tomb palace. There used to be five paralleled single-arch bridges, corresponding to the five-arch palace gate situated 200 metres to the north. The remaining three bridges were renovated based on the original abutment and stone banks.
This tomb is that of the Hongwu Emperor, Zhu Yuanzhang, the first emperor of the Ming dynasty, and his wife Ma Liangliang. Legend says that in order to prevent robbery of the tomb, 13 identical processions of funeral troops started from 13 city gates to obscure the real burying site. The construction of the mausoleum began during the Ming Dynasty in 1381 and ended in 1405, with a huge expenditure of resources involving 100,000 labourers. The original wall of the mausoleum was more than 22.5 kilometres long. The mausoleum was built under heavy guard of 5,000 military troops.
The tomb site today consists of the Civil and Military Gate, the Imperial Tablet Hall, the Sacrificial Hall and the Rectangular Citadel & Ming Tower. Behind the latter is a large mound where the emperor and his queen were buried in a clay vault, 400 meters in diameter. On a stone wall surrounding the vault, 7 Chinese characters were inscribed, identifying the mausoleum of Emperor Ming Taizu (respected title of Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang).
Admission: Y70 for Ming Tomb, Y140 for combo ticket.