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The Western Xia Imperial Tombs

The Western Xia Imperial Tombs Travel Guide

The Western Xia Tombs (Xixia wangling) are heralded by the Chinese as the "Pyramids of China". They are located on the eastern slope of the Helan Mountain Range, 30km from the western suburbs of Yinchuan and just to the south of the Gunzhong Pass. These edifices cover an area measuring 10km from north to south and 4km from east to west, and are a magnificently crumbling sight, by day or night.The tombs were originally created by the founder of the Western Xia Kingdom (1038- 1237 AD), Li Yuanhao, who built over 70 tombs, one for himself, a number for his relatives and more to be left empty, presumably against theft. The Western Xia went on to last through around 12 kings, so that now there are nine main tombs left (being rebuilt) and 140 annex tombs containing various important personages, relatives, concubines or empty spaces. Each main tomb has four corner towers, and an array of watchtowers, pavilions housing stone tablets, a sacrificial hall and a coffin platform, although most of these buildings are well beyond recognisable. Archeologists also believe that octagonal glazed-tile pagodas once stood by each tomb.Excavation has been completed on one main tomb and on four of the annexes. The main tomb is believed to be that of Li Yuanhao, and all the tombs have a stairway or sloping path down to their coffin pits. Through poor maintenance and heavy erosion most of the buildings are now fairly dilapidated, made from crumbling brown earth and scattered across the plain. Fortunately, building materials, broken stone tablets, the rammed loess catafalques, towers, glazed tiles, walls and steles with inscriptions of Western Xia or Han characters still remain, and provide us with interesting information on the Western Xia. The 23rd grandson of the last king is presently doing research into the tombs and the history of this long dead kingdom.

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Ticket price :RMB95
Openning: 8:00-18:30

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