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An interesting discovery

These hills are covered with trees.

However, just beneath the cover of the trees there are walking paths all over that lead to steps that seem to go up the hill. Where do they lead?

They lead to tons of these...

These are tombs. In this last picture you can see one closer and another just a bit up the hill. Most of them have a large stone plaque that describe who is entombed there. They look like this.

Whoa. I had no idea. these hills are covered in these tombs. I'm not clear on how old most of them are. Several are much older and some are from within the past twenty years. This last one describes many members of a family that are here.

Ivy was able to fill me in on many of the details, but she was unclear on how people are buried in these tombs. She told me it's illegal now to bury people fully intact now. Everyone who does now in China gets cremated, but she wasn't sure how long that policy has been in place.

Further, she told me she thought most of these people were from this neighborhood. Not just anyone could be buried here.

There were a lot of these tombs. Most of them looked like poured concrete on the sides with a pyramid shaped mound on the top. That last one had evidence that family members had been here recently. There were the remnants of burned candles and flowers that were left on the alter. Also, Ivy tells me people will leave their ancestors their favorite foods and fake money. She says they will burn the fake money so that it makes it to them in the afterlife.

I'll be curious to see just how far up the hill these things go. When the weather improves I'll be making that trek to the top. Perhaps these hills are covered in tombs all the way to the top? So many more questions. Who decides who gets to be here? Is this common all across China? Are these only the wealthy peolle? Just this district here in Hangzhou? Do they have "graveyards"? What do they usually do with someone's ashes? I'll need to invest some time into investigation.

Another cool observation: because these are built into the side of a hill you can see how they planned for rain and erosion. The following picture is from above a tomb. They built in a gutter system for the water that comes sweeping down the hillside.

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Mike Durkee
Mike Durkee

That in some odd way is freakishly cool... not your general touristy thing there.

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