I care about where I live but not to the extent of paying ridiculous amounts for a “prestigious address”. If I were a snob, however, and living in China during the Western Han dynasty (206BC-AD8), the district of Wuling would be my address of choice. Located in the suburbs of the capital, Changan (modern-day Xian), Wuling was the final resting place of five Western Han emperors, among whom were the dynasty’s founder, Emperor Gaozu (reigned 202-195BC), and Emperor Wu (reigned 141-87BC), whose reign saw the Western Han at its most powerful. The Han emperors believed the afterlife was a close facsimile of the here and now. So they built huge tombs at enormous expense and at a scale that was commensurate with their exalted rank as the Son of Heaven. To ensure the emperors wouldn’t be lonely in death, the tombs’ environs were urbanised and populated. But to be eligible to live near these monuments, one had to be high-born – descendants of royalty past and present, or relatives of highranking civil and military officials. In the absence of a prestigious lineage, wealth could still get you into Wuling. With such a concentration of rich and influential residents, Wuling became the most expensive and fashionable district in the whole of the Western Han empire.