I took the subway to the Ming Tombs stop, but was unprepared for the distances that separate the tombs. The Spirit Way was easily within reach of the station, using Google Maps as a guide, but everything else was miles from each other. As I had seen another Spirit Way at another tomb (not A Ming tomb), and this one was actually not quite as nice, it turned out to be a poor choice to buy a "through" ticket, which gets you into all the tombs and various related areas. Add onto that the fact I got there at around 2pm and the tomb grounds close at around 5:30, it was a waste of money. Going via the subway cost 7¥ each way and took about 1.5 hours from Tiananmen Sq, so I would say it's worthwhile if you just want to see a Spirit Way to buy a ticket for just that. Tree lined and pastoral.
Here is the beginning of the Spirit Way; the red gate. It was named several different things in different places.
It began with 4 columns.
With a steele in the middle.
And then a road lined with animals and representatives of different occupations.
At the end of the Spirit Way, I realized that the most promising tomb (and one of the closest) was 3 miles away and it was basically 3:00 pm. I took a cab for 20¥. I didn't even try to bargain.
DingLing tomb is the most revealed. It was excavated and opened to the public. Unfortunately, it was not done well and many artifacts were destroyed, neglected or looted, before the area was properly managed.
I think this may have been the original entrance to the tomb.
Holy cow it was down deep. And you know what that means... A gazillion steps down. And up again.
The emperor's throne people throw money at the artifacts. I suspect it is done for good luck.
The remains of the emperor, emperess' and concubines.
A little fancyness above the arches, but mostly plain.
The "door" knobs
The wall around the compound
Looking at the side of the gate
They did put cute stone carved tables and stools in the courtyard.
And they embedded parts that couldn't be restored into the walkways.