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West Xia Imperial Tombs
West Xia Imperial Tombs: 
Ningxia - Yinchuan; 
Travel in Yinchuan, Ningxia West Xia Kingdom (1038-1227) stands among the once powerful kingdoms, with its capital in Yinchuan shaded by Mt. Helan imperial forests. Its Imperial Tombs reflect the past glories culturally and militarily.

The West Xia Imperial Tombs are 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) west of Yinchuan on east side of Mt. Helan. Since June 1972, nine imperial tombs and 253 lesser tombs have been unearthed, which are as grand as Ming Tombs in Beijing. With a total area of more than 50 square kilometers (19.3 square miles), it is unique among royal burials. The layout is patterned after the celestial bodies.

According to records, the tombs were patterned after Song Tombs in Gongxian County, Henan Province. The West Xia Imperial Tombs adopted the zhao-mu burial system (the father is zhao, son is mu while grandson is zhao again.). East line and west line are formed from south to north with zhao on the left and mu on the right. Each imperial tomb is an individual and integrated group of architectures, sitting north and facing south in a rectangle.

The tombs show clear relics of an inner square, roads, courtyards, wells and houses. In the middle of the south end of the heavenly wall stood watchtower platform. To north stood stele pavilions, varying from one mausoleum to another. The extant stele records in both Chinese and West Xia characters the accomplishments of the given emperor. The earth platform in the west was for sacrificial offerings. Behind it is an eye catching mausoleum platform, an earth pile with a remnant height of 23 meters (about 75.44 fee), which used to be a five- or seven-storied solid eight-sided pagoda. This is unique in Chinese mausoleum architectures. It is this relic that is called Oriental Pyramids by foreign tourists. Between the sacrifice palace and mausoleum platform lies earth ridge, under which is corridor leads to the tomb chamber--the underground palace.

There are mysteries yet to be unveiled. Floods in Mt. Helan are numerous but somehow the area of the West Xia Imperial Tombs is left untouched. Also, there are 8 or 9 stone kneeling statues unearthed with sticking teeth, glower and plump breast with unknown significance and function.

The West Xia Imperial Tombs are not only a state cultural heritage but also a state scenic spot. The magnificent labyrinth and the continuous Mt. Helan and boundless desert are definitely worth visiting.

Admission Fee:  30
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West Xia Imperial Tombs
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