At the center of Eastern Qing Tombs is Xiaoling, which is the tomb of the first Qing dynasty emperor, Shunzhi (1638 - 1661), who was buried here in 1663. It is believed that this burial site was chosen by Shunzhi on a hunting excursion.
These Eastern Qing Tombs were first built in 1663, when Shunzhi was first buried, and the tombs were modeled after the Ming tombs. Xiaoling, being the tomb of the first Qing dynasty emperor is the most elaborate of all the tombs here. It is the largest and stands as the main tomb of the entire area. This is expected, since it is the burial grounds for the first Qing dynasty emperor. There is a huge archway standing before the big Red Gate, and inside the gate is the Stele pavilion which contains a stele inscribed with an account of the accomplishments of emperor Shunzhi. From the archway to the tomb of Shunzhi is a 12 meter wide path that is lined with 18 sets of stone statues of lions, elephants, horses, camels, and army generals.
Located on the west side of Xiaoling is Yuling, the tomb of Emperor Qianlong, who ruled over China for 60 years. Yuling is also very elaborate and is one of the most splendid tombs here. Yuling has the finest tomb chamber with a floor space covering 327 square meters. There are several rooms separated by solid marble doors with walls and ceiling engraved with Buddha figures and tibetan scripture. Jingling is the tomb of Emperor Kangxi, and his tomb here is more modest compared to the other tombs here.
The infamous Empress Dowager Cixi is buried in Ding Dongling, and her tomb is also very elaborate. She ruled china for 48 years. The main hall contains reproductions of photos produced in 1903 of Cixi within the Summer Palace. Ci xi spent vast amounts of money to build her tomb, and some historians have estimated the costs to total 72 tons of silver.