Nanjing - The Southern Capital

sichuan.jpg - 13888 Bytes Lying on the Yangtze River, Nanjing is the capital of Jiangsu Province and one of the ancient capitals of China. With a rich history, Nanjing today is a major economic center for eastern China.
Nanjing City Ratings
** The following ratings are based on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the best.
History(8)     Art(3) Local Culture/Unique Tour(4)
Nature/Scenic(7) Food/Shopping(8) Night Life(4)
Religion(4) Adventure/Sports(4) Reasonable Cost(6)
Recommended Days of Stay: 2 Nanjing City Map

Quick Facts
Population - 6 million
People - Han

When to go
Tourist Season - October to mid-November;
Coldest Months - January, with temperature as low as -7C;
Hottest Months - August, with temperature as high as 40C;
Annual Precipitation - 1,000 millimeters
Getting In and Out
By Air - Nanjing is a little less than 2 hours by air from Beijing and one hour by air from Shanghai. There are also flights connecting Nanjing with Hong Kong and other major Chinese cities;
By Train - Nanjing can be reached in 2.5 to 3 hours by train from Shanghai.
By Bus - Nanjing can be reached in 3 hours by bus from Shanghai via the Nanjing-Shanghai expressway.


Nanjing was settled 6,000 years ago and was constructed as a walled city in 229. Nanjing first became a capital city for the state of Wu during the Three Kingdoms period (220-280 AD). From 317 to 1421, Nanjing intermittently served as the capital of Eastern Jin, Song, Qi, Liang, Chen, Tang and Ming. In 1421, Emperor Yongle moved his capital to Beijing and gave Nanjing its current name, which literally means 'southern capital'.

In 1842, China signed the Treaty of Nanking with Great Britain, who defeated China in the Opium War and forced Nanjing to become an open port to foreigners, along with other 4 Chinese ports. In 1895, Nanjing was taken over by the Taiping rebels and declared as the capital of The Kingdom of Heavenly Peace. For a few months in 1912, the Sun Yat-sen government made Nanjing their capital. In 1927, Jiang Kai-shek again declared Nanjing the capital.

During the WWII, the city Nanjing suffered greatly under the Japanese invasion and witnessed the massacre of 300,000 Chinese. The tragedy, referred to as the Rape of Nanjing, is commemorated today by the opening of a new museum.

Today Nanjing is a flourishing city attracting a significant amount of foreign investment.
Dr. Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum * * * * *
The Mausoleum of China's great revolutionary forerunner, Dr. Sun Yat-sen (1866-1925), was built in 1926-1929 on the southern slopes of Zhongshan Hill in the eastern suburbs of Nanjing. The mausoleum towers 73 meters at an altitude of 158 meters above sea level. 392 granite steps lead to the memorial hall and a vault where the remains of Sun Yat-sen are buried under a marble statue of him in a reclining posture. The mausoleum covers an area of 80,000 square meters. Overlooking the plains, the architectures are arranged in the form of a freedom bell, with green foliage as the backdrop.

Dr. Sun Yat-sen, the father of Republican China, was a revolutionist. Dr. Sun is best known for his Three People's Principles: Nationalism, Democracy and 'People's Livelihood'. Sun's Principles were aimed against western imperialists in China and the Qing government. Dr. Sun was also an advocate for economic reform through land re-distribution and capital control.

Ming Tomb * *
The Ming Tomb was for the first Ming emperor, Zhu Yuanzhang, and his empress. Its Sacred way contains over 10 well-proportioned, larger-than-life mythical animals, generals and ministers.

Drum Tower * *
The Drum Tower was first constructed in 1382 by the first Ming Emperor and has been restored many times since. The tower is a double-roofed, gray-tiled wooden structure. It used to house a number of sets of drums, which were used to mark the hours at night, sound the alarm, or welcome visiting dignitaries.

Confucius Temple * * * *
Standing on the bank of the Qinhuai River, the temple, built in 1034, is where people once worshipped the great philosopher. After experiencing much destruction and renovation over a period of nearly a thousand years, it now serves as a center for popular cultural activities. In 1985, the entire temple compound underwent renovation. Teahouses, wine shops and inns were restored to their original Ming and Qing styles. One can sample the 200 kinds of traditional foods and local snacks here. The riverside Gongyuan Street has once again taken on the looks of an ancient shopping area.

Jiangsu Provincial Museum (Nanjing Museum) * *
Founded in 1933, the Jiangsu Provincial Museum houses such collections as Jade, Bronze, Lacquer, Ceramics and Textile, some of which date back more than 2000 years. An incident happened in 1980 that caused the closedown of the museum. The director of the museum committed suicide on the museum property. His family, believing that he was wronged by his superiors, refused to remove the body from the museum. The museum of course re-opened eventually and no human body can be seen today on the property.

Local Culture/Unique Tour
Zijinshan Observatory * * *
Zijinshan Observatory, the largest in China, is the research center of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, specializing in space research. Founded in 1934, its display of copies of ancient Chinese astronomical instruments is fascinating.

Nanjing Wall * *
Roughly 10 km north-south by 5.6 km west-east, the Nanjing City Wall is the longest in the world. The wall was built in the 1300s with cannons on top to protect the ancient capital from foreign invasion. 13 gates were originally built and 10 were added later. The most famous gate is the two-story Zhonghua Gate with four gates in succession for extra protection. The Zhonghua Gate has 12 tunnels with room to garrison 3,000 soldiers.

Purple Mountain (Zijinshan) * *
The Purple Mountain dominates the northeastern skyline for the city of Nanjing. It is a large wooded area with hills. An ideal spot for relaxing, it also contains some interesting sites to see.

Xuanwu Lake * * *
Originally built in the fifth century, it was named after a black dragon spotted emerging from the river. The 15-km long lake, part of the Xuanwu Park, is now used for recreation and fish farming. A stroll alongside the lake, or better yet, a boat cruise on the lake, is a precious escape from the busy city scene.

Famous Local Food
Jiangsu Cuisine

Antique Shopping
Confucius Temple

Shopping for Unique Products
Nanjing Arts and Crafts Industry Corp

Night Life
Tequila Bar, Swede & Kraut

Manhattan Disco, Casablanca

Soul Valley (Linggu) Temple * *
The Soul Valley Temple was built in 514 and later moved to the present site. The temple is famous for its Beamless Hall, a 22-meter high brick building without a single beam or inch of wood. Nearby is a nine-story pagoda built in the 1920s.



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