Many travellers to China visit Shaanxi Province, and most visit the ancient Chinese capital of Xian, beside the river Wei. Since being added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1987, most have heard of The Terracotta Warriors, and is on their list of things that they want to see. What a lot fail to realize is that there are other treasures just waiting for the tourist to discover, such as Hanyangling.
Situated just an hour’s drive north from Xian city, is Zhangjiawan village. Here the tourist will find the Yangling Mausoleum of the Han Dynasty (Hanyangling). It is a combined tomb of the renown West Han Dynasty (206BC-220AD). It was used for the burial of Emperor Liu Qi, and his wife.
It was made between the years 153BC and 126BC, and covers a massive area. An abundant cultural relic, and a magnificent spot for the tourist to explore. It comprises the two tombs, north and south burial pits, the ceremonial site and various cemeteries. At the center of the mausoleum is the Emperor’s tomb.
The Emperor’s tomb is an underground chamber with passageways on all sides, and is surrounded by tall walls. In the center of each wall there are large gates, the southernmost gate has been excavated and opened for tourists. Outside are numerous burial pits, which contained various objects. These pits all vary in size, the shortest being 12 feet in length and the largest 328 feet. Archaeologists excavating these pits have found chariots, weapons, pottery animals, and naked pottery figurines.
The Empresses’ tomb lies nearly 1,500 feet away, to the East, but is much smaller. It still follows the same form of construction, with walls and passageways surrounding the central area. Again there are four gates within the walls. To date more than 30 burial pits have been found around this tomb.
On the south-east of this Emperor’s tomb, the tourist will find the Luojing Stone site. This is the biggest ceremonial site found within the Royal cemetery. The stone itself is thought to have been used for measuring during construction at the mausoleum. As such it is the earliest known mark-stone anywhere in the world.
Not to be missed are the outside pits exhibition hall. To protect this important site, it has been encased in toughened glass, which also enables the tourist to see inside. There are also glass corridors, which enable the tourist to get a closer look at pottery warriors, chariots, weapons and even the archaeologists as they carry on with their excavations at Hanyangling.