The Dingling Underground Palace was the first of the 13 Ming royal tombs to be officially opened to the public. Located on the southern slopes of Tianshou Mountain in Changping County, Beijing, Dingling is the tomb of Emperor Zhu Yijun and his two empresses, Xiaoduan and Xiaojing. The ancient palace is accessed via a 40-meter underground tunnel.
Zhu Yijun was the thirteenth emperor and occupier of the throne for 48 years, the longest of all the Ming Dynasty emperors. Built over six years between 1584 and 1590, the tomb is gigantic and extravagant, with five halls connected by giant marble archways, and floors paved with gilded bricks. The central hall is home to three imperial thrones, while the rear hall is the most important and where the three coffins of the emperor and his empresses can be found. These are surrounded by red-lacquer chests filled with precious items.
There is also a museum at the Dingling Underground Palace, where 3000 objects excavated from the site are displayed. These artifacts include royal robes, the emperor's crown and the empresses' tiaras, plus a number of other jewels and ceramic items.
To reach the Dingling Underground Palace from Beijing, take Subway Line 2 to Jishuitan Station and walk to Deshengmen Bus Station. Take the 872 bus from here to the Ming Tombs.