Located 78 miles east of Beijing, five Qing emperors lay entombed surrounded by a plethora of empresses. These tombs hold the Shunzhi emperor, the Kangxi emperor, the Qianlong emperor, the Xianfeng emperor, and the Tongzhi emperor.The tombs are built in the Ming style with several stone gates that channel a Spirit Way to the tombs.
Emperor Shunzhi was the first Qing emperor and was buried in 1663. Xiaoling, the name of his tomb, is the most elaborate and largest tomb in the group. This greatness is attributed to the fact that he was the first emperor of the Qing Dynasty to be entombed, therefore it had to be the biggest and best. In direct contrast to Xiaoling is Jingling, the tomb of Emperor Kangxi. Although considered the greatest Emperor of the Qing Dynasty, his tomb is very modest which was in line with his character.
However, one of the most spectacular royal tombs in Chinese history is Yuling, that of Emperor Qianlong. The walls and ceilings are covered with Buddha figures and Tibetan scriptures, while solid marble doors separate the many chambers. Another tomb of note is that of Empress Dowager Cixi who ruled China for 48 years. Her tomb is an especially extravagant tribute to her life and power with a bold depiction of a phoenix (the empress) rising above a dragon (the emperor). Gold painted motifs on dark wood depict time spent at the Summer Palace and the buildings in which she spent her last years.