Jiangsu province -> Nanjing city
Various dynasties have made Nanjing their base. The most famous of these periods is when Nanjing was the capital of China; during the Ming Dynasty between 1368 and 1644 and the establishment of the People's Republic of China in the early 20th Century. Many of the city's historical sites are date back to these periods and Sun Yatsen's Mausoleum and the Ming Tombs are examples of the wealth of culture existing in this ancient city.
Today, the city is renowned for being an educational and cultural center, with a large student (foreign and native Chinese) population. Nanjing is a pretty place, with tree- lined streets, hills and lakes, making the intense heat of east China's summers more bearable. The pace of life here is slower than many other Chinese cities and Nanjing seems quite conservative in comparison to the brash modernity of neighboring Shanghai. Indeed the local's mantra "man zou" (go slow) is a reflection of the cautious and reserved attitude of many of the city's residents.
Like many Chinese cities however, the charm of this place is being threatened. The developers have moved in and the old streets and classical buildings are being torn apart to make way for expressways and skyscrapers.
| Confucius Temple (Fuzimiao)|
|The Confucius Temple (Fuzimiao) was originally built during the Song Dynasty and is situated on the north bank of the Qinhuai River. Today, the entire area around the Temple consists of a series of tourist shops, snack bars, restaurants and entertainment arcades all done up in "Ming" and "Qing" style architecture. There is a vaguely kitsch feeling about the area and the Temple itself is a bit of a disappointment but the area is great fun and a very pleasant part of the city to walk around (the only pedestrianised area in the city). Absorb the relaxed atmosphere, have something to eat and take part in the fun! It is particularly interesting in the evenings when a lively street market sets up in the district, and locals and tourists take part in the bargain hunting! |
The Song Dynasty was a period of great Confucian revivalism and the temple here is considered to be one of the best preserved of its type in China. During the Ming Dynasty the temple was expanded and became a school for children of the imperial court. The buildings on both sides of the Temple which are now small tourist shops were once individual study rooms for Confucian scholars. The Qinhuai River flows in front of the Temple and there is also a 110-meter-long screen stonewall (the largest in the nation) nearby, which can be viewed from the bridge crossing the river in front of the Temple. A beautiful ?¡ãLantern Show?¡À is held at the Temple during the 1st to the 18th days of the Lunar Year.
| Sun Yatsen's Mauseleum|
|Dr. Sun Yatsen's Mausoleum is the most famous site located on Purple Mountain. Dr. Sun is arguably China's most famous revolutionary hero. Images of the first president of China and the founder of the Kuomintang party are everywhere in Nanjing. As relations with Taiwan become more tense, the fact that both sides still worship this man is perhaps an optimistic sign that some peaceful resolution can be reached. |
Chinese tourists flock to this spectacular sight in hundreds, making their way up the fabulous marble staircase to pay their respects to the founder of modern China. The tomb itself is striking. The blue and white tiles in the Mausoleum symbolize the Kuomintang flag and the walls are decorated with the full text of "The Guidelines for Establishing a Nation" written by Dr. Sun. The tomb is covered by a sleeping statue of the revolutionary hero. There is also a huge tablet here inscribed with Dr. Sun's "Three Principles of the People" : Nationalism, Democracy and People's livelihood.
| Linggu Temple|
|The Linggu Temple, (Lingu si) the Linggu pagoda and the Beamless Hall are situated on the eastern side of Purple Mountain. This area can be reached by a shuttle bus from the Mausoleum but the nicest approach is to take one of the numerous paths into the woods that head east from the Mausoleum . Just follow the signs along the route and you will eventually arrive at the Linggu Park containing a few interesting buildings. |
The Beamless Hall is where the bus stops. This is an unusual construction built using only five columns and no beams. The Hall was originally used to display Buddhist statues but today there is a much less interesting and slightly bizarre exhibition of mannequins reenacting Chinese history throughout the ages!
Directly North of the Hall is the pretty Linggu Pagoda which affords great views of the surrounding countryside and the city in the distance. The pagoda is sixty meters high and was built in the 1930s.
The Linggu Temple itself is a very active Buddhist Temple. Originally built in the Ming dynasty but recently restored, the Temple provides an insight into Chinese Buddhism and the everyday life of these monks. The Temple has a shrine containing the skull of the Chinese monk who went to India to collect the Buddhist scriptures.
| Yangtze River Bridge|
|The Yangtze River Bridge, 4.6km long, is an impressive construction in the northwest of the city. The bridge was built in 1968 in honor of the capture of Nanjing from the Kuomingtang by the Communists. The Chinese are particularly proud of the fact that they managed to complete the bridge after Russia withdrew their promise of assistance. The structure and design of the bridge are particularly impressive. There are two decks; the upper level carries vehicles and passengers and the lower carries trains over the huge Yangtse River. |
The bridge is uniquely Chinese in style and on the sides of the top deck are statues of soldiers involved in the crossing of the river. Visitors can access the bridge from the Great Bridge Park to the north of Zhongshan Bei Lu.There are elevators taking tourists up to the decks which afford a great view not just of the murky and gargantuan river, but also of the bridge's structure and architecture.
| Gulou (Drum Tower)|
|Gulou (Drum Tower) is situated in the very center of Nanjing at the Gulou roundabout. The Tower was built in the 15th year of the reign of Hongwu during the Ming Dynasty (1382) and renovated during the Qing dynasty. The Drum Tower is a beautiful classical two storey building set amidst a pretty and secluded garden. The scale of the building is very unusual in Chinese architecture and the views from the top of the tower afford a great panorama of this small city. |
The Tower originally housed two large drums, 24 small drums and other musical instruments. Today there is only one large but impressive drum remaining on the top of the tower. The drums were used to announce the arrival of the emperor and his court to Nanjing and to warn city residents of danger. There is also a lovely little tea and snack house up here, which is usually blissfully quiet!