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24 Hours in Nanjing
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Nanjing-meaning 'southern capital' -- has served as the captial of China during several historical periods and remains the capital of Jiangsu Province today. Unfortunately, it is also synonymous with the massacres and atrocities committed by Japanese troops and recounted in Iris Chang's Rape of Nanking. However, what greets visitors today is a genteel, rapidly modernizing city proud of its heritage.



9am: Make tracks to Purple Mountain. A large number of sights are clustered around this forested mount but arguably the best is the Ming Xiaoling tomb, now mostly in ruins. The approach to the mausoleum along Spirit Way is lined with a stone zoo of statues encompassing both real and imaginary creatures, leading to a large walled enclosure in which Hongwu is thought to be buried. The quiet woodland makes for a pleasant stroll, as does the walk up to Zixia Lake.


10:30am: Also on Purple Mountain, Sun Yatsen's Mausoleum (and marble statue) is a very popular spot for Chinese tour groups, red caps and megaphones. Whether it is really worth the long climb up hundreds of steps is debatable. As an alternative, try the famous Linggu Temple, which boasts a beamless hall.


12:30pm: Have a quick lunch at the Taipingmen Lu branch of Nanjing institution Skyways Bakery and Deli. If you're feeling energetic you could take a post-prandial stroll around nearby Xuanwu Lake Park.


2pm: Head for the Drum Tower built in 1382 in the center of old Nanjing. Then take the newly-opened subway to the Zhonghua Gate. Built into the city walls, this four-row gate could accommodate 3,000 soldiers. You can climb on top of the city wall here for a view of the battlements. Incidentally, Nanjing's walls are the longest city walls ever built, with a circumference of more than 33 kilometers.


3:30pm: Go back one stop on the subway to the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom History Museum in Zhanyuan Garden. This is best enjoyed if you can give your guide the slip. The gardens were built in the Ming dynasty and became the residence of some of the Taiping leaders. The museum charts the rise and fall of the historic event.


6pm: To get a taste of local cuisine you might visit the Fuzi Temple pedestrian area, where there are many restaurants by the waterside. The temple is best visited by night, when the lights and kitsch on display rival Vegas; quite what the Olympic Friendlies have to do with Confucius is anyone's guess. In any case, the local specialities on offer nearby, such as salty duck, won't win any Chinese culinary awards, so you may prefer to visit Xinleyuan, where both the Thai and Nepali restaurants are reasonably good.


8pm: Leave the much vaunted 1912 area to the locals. The best beer in town is that brewed at the German Brauhaus in Jinling Hotel. Planta, a newly-opened lounge bar, is also worth searching out as it provides a pleasant place to unwind after a hard day.


Travel Pack


Jinling Hotel

319 Zhongshan Dong Lu (025 8471 1888)

The most famous hotel in town. The German Brauhaus is in the basement of the attached shopping complex.


Bangkok restaurant

Xinleyuan, 193 Shigu Lu (025 8658 0008)


Himalaya restaurant

Xinleyuan, 193 Shigu Lu (025 8666 1828)


Skyways Bakery and Deli

10 Taipingmen Lu (025 8481 2002)



Bldg 11, Cao Chang Men, 72 Beijing Xi Lu (025 8369 9208)


(That's Shanghai by Mark Andrews April 18, 2007)


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