They profoundly changed Beijing and reshaped the map of Asia, but who were the Manchus? While their empire is now a part of history, the Manchu culture and people have left an indelible mark on China. Their stories live on in documents, inscriptions, and in the tombs of China’s last emperors.

Spend Halloween weekend with writer and historian Jeremiah Jenne (Beijing by Foot) and local expert Yue Xiaohong (The Hutong) for an unforgettable exploration of Manchu tombs, history, and culture in the heart of Hebei Province.

On this weekend adventure, we’ll visit old fortress towns where the people are the direct descendants of the men who guarded the tombs for the emperor. We’ll get hands-on with traditional inkstones, learn the legend of China’s most notorious assassin. Along the way, we will also experience the glorious Chinese countryside in autumn with cool weather and beautiful scenery. At night, stay in a beautifully remodeled Manchu-style courtyard and dine on regional specialties and the bounty of this year’s harvest.

Just a short ride from Beijing, a world of history, culture, and adventure awaits you!

Our weekend excursion costs 2000 RMB per person, and includes:

– Round trip coach transfer from central Beijing to Yixian

– Expert tour guides, including Jeremiah Jenne (Beijing by Foot) and Yue Xiaohong (The Hutong)

– 1-night twin-share accommodation at local Manchu Guesthouse

– Meals, drinks, and snacks

– Inkstone-carving  workshop

– Tour of Western Qing Tombs, Jingke Tower site, Inkstone Museum, and historically-significant Manchu village

– Scenic morning hike near Yi Lake


The Last Tombs of the Manchu Empire will run from Saturday, Oct. 31 – Sunday, November 1, 2020. To book your spot email danielle[at]thehutong.com


Saturday, Oct. 31

Morning

– Depart 8:30 AM from Beijing (allow 2 – 2.5 hours bus transfer)

– Every official had on his desk the Four Treasures of the Scholar: The brush, the paper, the ink stick, and the inkstone. Connoisseures past and present considered the inkstones from this region to be among the finest in all of China. Our first stop on our adventure is to learn how these incredible treasures were made and to learn how to carve our own inskstone designs. The master carvers will guide us through the process and then teach us a few of the brush skills needed for elegant calligraphy.

Afternoon

– A lunch of local specialties served nearby the Inkstone Museum

– Then it’s on to our first set of tombs! Local expert Yue Xiaohong, who grew up among the tombs, will guide us through the final resting places of four of the Qing emperors, their families and their concubines. Jeremiah will share with us his research on the emperors and their lives and we’ll also be sure to hear the fascinating stories behind the tombs of the last two emperors: The Guangxu Emperor, poisoned in 1908, and his successor the boy emperor Puyi!

– Exploration of historic Manchu village, home of the imperial mausoleum keepers. Learn the rich and fascinating history and culture of the families who have populated this village over the past three hundred years (and still live here to this day!).

Evening

– Dinner: Savor local specialties and unique flavors during a delicious Manchu feast.

– Check into our beautiful, traditional guesthouse accommodation and wind down the day with some beverages.

Sunday, Nov. 1

Morning

– Breakfast at Guesthouse (including coffee and tea)

– Hike the “Two Towers Mountain” (太宁寺双塔山). This two-hour hike takes in the two remaining Liao Dynasty-era towers of what was once a mighty temple built on the hillside of Taining Mountain. Here, we’ll learn the history of the area, enjoy the beautiful scenery, and stretch our legs along a hillside path.

Afternoon

– Lunch of local specialties at a local restaurant

– Visit legendary assassin Jing Ke’s tower. Erected in memory of the would-be assassin, the Jing Ke tower is said to be the final resting place of Jing Ke’s garments. Here, we’ll learn the story of Jing Ke and how he rose to notoriety.

– Return to Beijing with a ETA sometime in the later afternoon on Sunday