The site, located on the southern slope of Tianshou Mountain (originally Mount Huangtu), was chosen on the feng shui principles by the third Ming Dynasty emperor Yongle (1402 - 1424) in 1409, who moved the capital of China from Nanjing to its present location in Beijing.
All of the Ming tombs are surrounded by mountains on three sides near a river and share a centrally located avenue known as the Sacred Way. As of today only three of the 13 tombs are open to the public: the Dingling (the tomb of Emperor Wanli), Changling (the tomb of Emperor Yongle), and Zhaoling (the tomb of Emperor Qinglong).
The Ming Tombs are considered a perfect incorporation of an ancient royal cemetery and traditional Chinese feng shui. What is more, this World Heritage Site is one of the most prominent cultural relics of China.