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Hanyang Mausoleum

Hanyangling, or the Hanyang Tomb is the Mausoleum of Liu Qi (188 -141 BC), the fourth emperor of the Western Han Dynasty, and his queen. It is located at Zhanjiawan Village, about 20 kilometers north of Xian City. It was built in 153 BC and covers an area of 20 square kilometers. This site is a relic site under State protection and one of the hot tourism destinations in the region. It comprises the emperor's tomb, empress's tomb, the south and north burial pits, ceremonial site, human sacrifice graveyard and criminals' cemetery. The Outside Pits Exhibition Hall was opened in 2006 and is the first underground museum in China.

Hanyangling is the joint tomb of Emperor Liu Qi, The Emperor came to the throne in 157 BC and ruled for 16 years. Liu Qi, following his father, Emperor Liu Heng's advice, initiated a flourishing period in the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC- 24 AD). His imperial rule promoted the development of economy and culture, so he is remembered as a capable emperor in Chinese history. Construction of the prisoner-built Emperor's tomb began in 153 BC and was completed in 146 BC. Since it was on the site of Yi Yang County, the tomb gained its name Yangling. Hanyangling is its present name after the findings.

Hanyangling is mainly made up of the tomb of Han Jingdi, tomb of Empress Wang, burial pits, archaeological exhibitions, criminal graveyard and some satellite tombs. The mausoleum covers an area of 10 square kilometers; 6 kilometers from east to west and up to 3 kilometers south to north. An east-to-west sacred road will lead you to the tomb of Jingdi at its western end. It looks like a topless pyramid standing in the center, with many satellite tombs strewn in all directions to protect it. Close beside Yangling lies the tomb of his Empress Wang, mother of famous Han Wudi (Liu Che) who was later buried there to accompany her husband. The whole structure of the mausoleum is an irregular rectangle, but looks clear and neat. Its construction layout fully indicates the centralization of the imperial state powers and their predominant hierarchic ranks.

Outside Pits Exhibition Hall covers an area of about 7,850 square meters (2 acres). It has been modernized to exhibit ten outside pits surrounding the emperor's tomb but does not devalue the look of the mausoleum. To protect the culture relic, the pits are encased with toughened glass to create the similar environment as it was before. Suspended corridors made of glass make it more convenient for visitors to be able to take a closer look. Through the glass on the right, on the left or under foot, visitors can see pottery warriors, animals, chariots and horses, and the archaeologists excavating. A kind of imaging technique concerning with optical illusion has been applied in the museum. Through the illusive characters and scenes, the life of Liu Qi, the anecdote of Empress Wang and the archaeological discoveries in the mausoleum are presented.

Currently, Hanyangling is still in the process of excavations. This means that with each future visit there will be more and more for you to see!

Maps of Hanyang Mausoleum Xian

The Underground Museum