The Cemetery of Confucius, lying in the north of the Qufu city, is a cemetery of the Kong clan in Confucius' hometown. Confucius himself and some of his disciples are buried there, as well as many thousands of his descendants. Since 1994, the Cemetery of Confucius has been part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site "Temple and Cemetery of Confucius and the Kong Family Mansion in Qufu". The two other components of the site are the Temple of Confucius, dedicated to the memory of the philosopher, and the Kong Family Mansion. The three sites are collectively known in Qufu as ‘San Kong’, the Three Confucian.
In 1331 construction work began on the wall and gate of the Cemetery of Confucius. In total, the cemetery has undergone 13 renovations and extensions. Eventually, by the late 18th century, the perimeter wall reached a length of 7.5 kilometers, enclosing an area of 3.6 square kilometers. But the Cemetery of Confucius suffered serious damage in November 1966, during the Cultural Revolution.
Confucius' own tomb lies in the center, with a sacred way some 1,266 meters long. The surrounding towering ancient trees form a natural arboretum. It has been used for about 2,500 years. Since Confucius' descendants were conferred noble titles and were given imperial princesses as wives, many of the tombs in the cemetery show the status symbols of noblemen. Tombstones came in use during the Han Dynasty, today, there are about 3,600 tombstones dating from the Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties still standing in the cemetery.