Lying in the southwestern part of Jiangsu Province, Nanjing is the provincial capital and the province's political, economic, cultural, and communication center. It is endowed with a favorable geographical location - the Yangtze River (Changjiang) rolling past in the northwest and the Zhongshan Park (Purple Mountain) towering to the southeast. It is shaded by exuberant trees everywhere.
Nanjing is one of the six famous ancient capitals of China, the others being Xi'an, Beijing, Luoyang, Kaifeng, and Hangzhou. Starting with the Kingdom of Wu some 1,700 years ago, the dynasties of Eastern Jin, Song, Qi, Liang, Chen, Southern Tang, and Ming all established their capitals here. The present city wall, 33.7 kilometers long and 12 meters high, was built between 1368 and 1398 during the reign of the first emperor of the Ming Dynasty.
Now an industrial city, Nanjing has mining, metallurgy, iron and steel, machinery, automobile making, synthetic fibres, telecommunication equipment, petrochemicals, and Ming all established their capitals here. The present city wall, 33.7 kilometers long and 12 meters high, was built between 1368 and 1398 during the reign of the first emperor of the Ming Dynasty.
Now an industrial city, Nanjing has mining, metallurgy, iron and steel, machinery, automobile making, synthetic fibres, telecommunication hub with well-developed railway, water, highway, and air communication systems.
Rain and Flower Terrace (Yuhuatai)
This terrace is located outside Zhonghua Gate south of the city. According to legend, Abbot Yunguang used to preach here over 1,400 years ago. His devoted preaching eventually moved the gods, who let it rain not water but flower blossoms, which accounts for the name. As countless revolutionaries were massacred here from 1927 to 1949, the terrace is now a cemetery and memorial to the martyrs, for whom a monument and a museum were erected. On the east hill is the "Second Spring South of the Yangtze River," formally known as Rain and Flower Spring, where visitors can enjoy the famous "Rain and Flower Tea" at the teahouse beside the spring. The "rain and flower pebbles" from the hills here turn into a riot of color when put under water.
Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum
The mausoleum, built in a style combining Chinese and Western architecture, is situated on the south slope of Purple Mountain outside Zhongshan Gate east of downtown Nanjing. Sun Yat-sen, the great forerunner of the Chinese democratic revolution, died in Beijing in 1925 and was buried here in June 1929. Built against the Purple Mountain, the mausoleum faces a broad semicircular area with a bronze statue of Sun Yat-sen. The statue was presented by a Japanese named Umeya fifty years ago. Starting from the entrance of the mausoleum, 392 stone steps lead up to the memorial hall, in the center of which is a marble statue of sun Yat-sen surrounded by bas-reliefs depicting his revolutionary career. Behind the hall is the coffin chamber housing a marble statue of Sun Yat-sen in repose. Dr. Sun's remains are buried five meters beneath the statue.
How to Get There: Tour bus 1,2,3 and bus 5, 9 are accessible.
Admission Price: 40 yuan (US$5)
Tel: 025-4431991 or 025-4446111-2157
Ming Tomb (Mingxiaoling)
About one kilometer west of the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum, Xiaoling lies the tomb of Zhu Yuanzhang (1328-1398) who founded the Ming Dynasty. Known to some as the "Beggar Emperor" because of his poor family background and childhood poverty, he ascended the throne in 1368. Construction of his tomb began in 1381 and was completed two years later. In addition to the emperor, his empress Ma and two high-ranking imperial concubines were also buried here together with a number of maids of honor who were buried alive with the dead. Xiaoling is the biggest of all the Ming tombs, but most of its buildings were destroyed in wars. The remaining structures include the front gate, Merits and Virtues Monument (Gongdebei), Sacred Road (Shendao), Imperial Stone Tablet Pavilion (Yubeiting), sacrifice Hall (Xiangdian), Treasure City (Baocheng), and the cemetery.
How to Get There: Tour bus 2,3 and Bus 20 accessible.
Admission Fee: RMB15 (US$2)
Soul Valley Temple (Linggusi)
One kilometer east of the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum, this secluded temple surrounded by towering pines is rated as the most scenic place in the region around Purple Mountain. Built in 514 and renovated in the Ming Dynasty, the enormous temple was seriously damaged; what one sees today is only part of the Dragon King Palace (Longwangdian) of the former grand temple. The present temple houses a memorial hall to the famous monk Xuan Zang, who once traveled to India on a pilgrimage for Buddhist scriptures. The Beamless Hall (Wuliangdian), measuring 22 meters high, 53.8 meters long, and 37.85 meters wide, is the only complete building left. It represents a masterpiece of ancient Chinese stone and brick architecture, erected entirely without wood or a single nail. Behind the hall stands the sixty-meter-high Linggu Pagoda, from which visitors can enjoy a panoramic view of the surrounding area and the dimly discernible city of Nanjing far off in the distance.
How to Get There: Tour Bus 3 and Bus 9 accessible.
Admission Fee: RMB15 (US$2)
Purple Mountain Observatory
Built in 1934 on Tianhao Hill, the third highest peak of Purple Mountain, one of the most famous observatories in China can be reached by a highway coiling up the mountain. Many asteroids, comets, and other celestial bodies have been discovered here, and many have been named after Purple Mountain by the international organizations concerned. Among the astronomical instruments of ancient China kept here are the armillary sphere, celestial globe, and gnomon.
Carble Car: RMB25
Located outside Xuanwu Gate in the northeast section of Nanjing, this lake was given its present name by Emperor Liu Yilong of the Song Dynasty (420-479). Fifteen kilometers in circumference and covering 440 hectares, the lake is surrounded by hills on three sides and the city to the west. There are five islets connected by bridges and causeways in the vast lake, each a scenic spot I its own right.
How to Get There: Take bus No.1 (RMB 1) from Gulou to the train station. The Lake is directly opposite. The main gateway to the Lake is on Zhongyang Lu. There is a small and quiet pedestrian path around most of Xuanwu Lake. Bus 304, 3, 25, 30, 35, 38 are also accessible
Admission Price: 10 yuan (US$1.2)
Open Time: 8:00-20:00
Not-to-Worry (Mochou) Lake
Only half a square kilometer in area, this lake lies outside Shuixi Gate in southwest Nanjing. Its elegance, serenity, green water, and quaint pavilions, chambers, and halls draw many visitors. The Lake is said to have been the residence of a girl named Mochou. Tulip Hall was Mochou's living room and is so called because she was very fond of tulips. Chess Pavilion (Shengqilou) is said to be where the first Ming Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang once played chess with his general Xu Da (1332-1385). As Xu Da won the game, the emperor bestowed on the victor the pavilion together with the entire lake.
How to Get There: Tour Bus 4 and bus 5, 9, 29, 68, 82, 92, 307, 7, 13, 19, 37, 41, 48, 83, 306 accessible.
The river passing through the city was the waterway for shipping grain to the imperial court during the dynasties which made Nanjing their capital. The west bank of its lower reaches was a major commercial area in ancient times as well as a residential area for dignitaries and noble families. In the early Ming Dynasty, many prostitutes of the late Ming Dynasty, once resided. Despite her social position, she was better known for her patriotism. Today, Qinhuai River has become a playground for the working people.
Located in Gongyuan Street on the north bank of the Qinhuai River inside Zhonghua Gate, the temple was used to worship and offer sacrifice to Confucius and is now a market and recreation area.
Stone City (Shitoucheng)
Crouching behind the Cool Hill (Qingliangshan) in the northwest part of Nanjing, the stone city extends about three thousand meters from the south to the north, with a maximum height of seventeen meters. Built by order of Sun Quan (182-252), the ruler of the Wu Kingdom, it stands on reddish brown rocks on the hill. As it was close to the Yangtze River and built in a strategic place, it was used for naval training by Zhou Yu (175-210), a general of the Wu Kingdom. Zhuge Liang (181-234), the prime minister of the Shu Kingdom, described the terrain of Nanjing as "Zhongshan curling like a dragon and the Stone City crouching like a tiger" when he came to Nanjing on a mission to the Wu Kingdom. Since then, Nanjing has also been referred to as "Stone City." Today, the stone wall is the only attraction left of this once stone city.
New Village of Plum Garden Museum (Meiyuanxincun Jinianguan)
Located north of Hanfu Street at the east end of Changjiang Road, the museum was the residence of the Chinese Communist Party delegation headed by Zhou Enlai from May 1946 to March 1947 when it came to Nanjing for negotiations with the then Kuomintang government. In 1956, the place was restored to what it looked like when Zhou Enlai and others worked and lived here and turned into a museum. Many objects of historic interest including a rich collection of photographs are now on display here.
Yangtze River Bridge
This engineering marvel is the longest double-decked rail and highway bridge in China. It has four vehicular lanes on the upper deck, under which is the double-tracked railway bridge. On each end of the 1,577-meter-long main section of the bridge stand two seventy-meter-high bridgeheads. The twenty-two twin-arched highway approaches are built I traditional Chinese architectural style. The bridge connects the Tianjin-Pukou and the Nanjing-Shanghai railways as well as highways on both sides of the river.
Admission fee: RMB2
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