NANJING (NANKING): ITS MING WALLS, MASSACRE, MAUSOLEUMS AND ZHENG HE

NANJING (NANKING)

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Linggu Pagoda
Nanjing (240 kilometers west of Shanghai) has been the site of many important historical events. After the Mongols were driven out in the 14th century, it was the capital of China for about 50 years. It was selected because it was less vulnerable to attacks by horsemen than cities further north. Nanjing was the home of the great Chinese eunuch explorer Cheng Ho. His "tomb" is empty because he died during his last voyage and was buried at sea. The Treaty of Nanking, signed here in 1842, was the pact that opened China to foreign trade. In the 1860s, the Taiping rebellion was centered in Nanjing and ultimately defeated there.

Nanjing (also known as Nanking) has a history that spans 2,400 years but is known to most people as the place where the Rape of Nanking occured. In 1937, the Japanese army attacked Nanjing to gain control of its important port and knock out a large contingent of the Chinese army, in the process committing horrible acts. They gang raped young women, butchered Chinese men and cut open pregnant women and had their pictures taken next to the fetuses. No one how many Chinese were killed but scholars estimate that between 140,000 and 300,000 troops and unarmed civilians died.

Today Nanjing is a pleasant tree-filled, industrial city with 6.5 million people in the city proper and 12 million in the metro area. There isn't all that much to see and the city can be oppressively hot in the summer. Nanjing is the provincial capital of Jiangsu Province. Industry has developed at a rapid pace after 1950. Nanjing is now a major production center for iron, steel, chemicals, machine building, optical instruments, textiles, and foodstuffs. The city is regarded as an educational and intellectual center, with 18 universities and several other institutions of higher learning. A large contingent of foreign students is studying Chinese at the Nanjing University and Nanjing Normal University. Nanjing Bridge is a favorite suicide spot. By one estimate more than 1,000 have leapt to their deaths from it.

Tourist Office: Nanjing Tourism Administration, 4 Nandongguashi, 210024 Nanjing, Jiangsu, China, tel. (0)-25-360-8901, fax: (0)- 25-77101959 Web Sites: Travel China Guide Travel China Guide Maps of Nanjing: chinamaps.org ; Joho Maps Joho Maps ; Getting There: Nanjing is accessible by air, bus and train. It is less than two hours from Shanghai on the relatively new fast train and is on the main Beijing-Shanghai rail line and well connected to other cities in China. Travel China Guide (click transportation) Travel China Guide

Rape of Nanking

One of the most horrible events of the Japanese occupation of China was the Rape of Nanking. Unspeakable atrocities were committed throughout the Yangtze Delta, which includes Nanking as well as Shanghai. No one knows how many Chinese were butchered. The extent of the atrocities did not come to light until after the end of World War II. The Japanese have estimated that 100,000 troops and unarmed Chinese civilians were killed. The Chinese figure is 300,000. The reason for the disparity of views on the number of victims is that many killings took place outside the city limits, and that deaths in battle and deaths by execution are not always distinguished.

In November 1937, Chinese forces abandoned the imperial capital of Nanking—before the Japanese even arrived. From December 1937 to March 1938, Japanese terrorized the people of Nanjing. POWs and men suspected of being Chinese soldiers in civilian clothes were marched by Japanese soldiers to execution sites and gunned down en masse. Women were gang-raped in front of their families; streets were filled with rotting corpses; Japanese soldiers pulled carts full of loot; children were casually murdered. The world was shocked by Japan's brutal aggression. Even swastika-wearing Nazis set up safety zones for Chinese. In many Japanese cities, by contrast, people held lantern parades to celebrate the capture of Nanking. [Source: Ian Buruma, New York Review of Books, October 13, 2011]

The Chinese also showed a dark---and cowardly---side. Chinese military officers fought their way out of the city, by trampling and pushing the lower ranks out of the way. Some Chinese who were trying to flee the city were shot in the back by other Chinese. Foreign heros included John Rabe, who managed to use his Nazi credentials to save quite a number of Chinese, and Minnie Vautrin (the “Anne Frank of China”), who tried to save women from being dragged away from their families.

Saving Nanjing's Super Wutong Trees

Reporting from Nanjing, Sharon Lafraniere wrote in the New York Times, “Tall as a 15-story building, with a mighty trunk, crooked branches and kingly canopy of leaves, the London plane tree, Platanus x acerifolia, is prized by horticulturists and city planners as a “supertree," immune to urban grime and smog. But can it survive a development-hungry Chinese Communist Party? In Nanjing, a southeastern city of eight million people, the answer seems — for now — to be yes. [Source: Sharon Lafraniere, New York Times June 4, 2011 |~|]

“In a nation where homes and farmland are routinely chewed up for the sake of high rises and factories, a grass-roots campaign by Nanjing residents this spring to save hundreds of the trees, known here as the wutong, from a subway expansion might seem like a nonstarter. But the effort, organized mostly online, has led to a surprising compromise from local government officials. It was not a shining example of democracy in action. But neither were ordinary citizens left fuming about power-drunk bureaucrats deaf to anyone below. Maybe that is because some Nanjing officials consider the Communist Party's credo of “supervision by the people” to be more than mere words. Or maybe it is because trees, in the scheme of development, provide an easy compromise. |~|

“Giants in the arboreal world, the wutongs were introduced in China by the French in the late 1800s or early 1900s to adorn their settlement in Shanghai, Nanjing officials say. In 1928 and 1929, Nanjing planted more than 20,000 saplings along Zhongshan Avenue, a road leading to the mausoleum of the anti-imperialist leader Sun Yat-sen, revered as the father of modern China. Many more were reportedly planted after the Communists took power in 1949. The trees grew fast and provided shade during Nanjing's scorching summers. And they became not just a symbol of Nanjing's graceful beauty, but of its civic philosophy. China's capital through multiple dynasties, Nanjing regards itself as a cultural haven. Its urban plan touts the city's integration with mountains, rivers and trees. Liu Hengzhen, a former military employee, planted wutongs in the 1950s. “They keep the whole city cool," Mr. Liu, now 80, said as he played mah-jongg at a street cafe, its roof pierced by a massive wutong branch. “The people of Nanjing grew up together with these trees," said He Jinxue, the daily operations director for the city's urban construction commission. “There is so much emotional attachment to them." |~|

Nanjing Metro

The Nanjing Metro is a relatively new mass transit system serving the urban and suburban Nanjing. As of 2020 it consisted of ten lines with 159 stations and on 394 kilometers (245 miles) of track. It is operated and maintained by the Nanjing Metro Group Company. The system is the forth longest subway in China, after the ones in Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou. It carries aroudn 1 billion riders a year. The first plan for a metro system serving Nanjing were proposed in 1984, and approved in 1994. Construction began on the initial 16-station Line 1 in 1999, opening in 2005. Future expansion plans include three lines set to open within the next few years, with several more awaiting approval to begin construction. Nanjing Metro Map: Urban Rail urbanrail.net; Nanjing Tram Map: Urban Rail urbanrail.net

Lines: terminuses, opening year, length and number of stations
Line 1 from Maigaoqiao (Qixia) to CPU (Jiangning), opened in 2005, 37.9 kilometers (23.5 miles) in length, 27 stations
Line 2 from Youfangqiao (Jianye) to Jingtianlu (Qixia), opened in 2010, 38.0 kilometers (23.6 miles) in length, 26 stations
Line 3 from Linchang (Pukou) to Mozhou-donglu (Jiangning), opened in 2015, 44.9 kilometers (27.9 miles) in length, 29 stations
Line 4 from Longjiang (Gulou) to Xianlinhu (Qixia), opened in 2017, 33.8 kilometers (21.0 miles) in length, 18 stations
Line 10 from Andemen (Yuhuatai)to Yushanlu (Pukou), opened in 2014, 21.6 kilometers (13.4 miles) in length, 14 stations


Line S1 from Nanjing South Railway Station (Yuhuatai) to Konggangxinchengjiangning (Jiangning), opened in 2014, 36.3 kilometers (22.6 miles) in length, 9 stations
Line S3 from Nanjing South Railway Station (Yuhuatai) to Gaojiachong (Pukou), opened in 2017, 37.6 kilometers (23.4 miles) in length, 19 stations
Line S7 from Konggangxinchengjiangning (Jiangning) to Wuxiangshan (Lishui), opened in 2018, 28.8 kilometers (17.9 miles) in length, 9 stations
Line S8 from Taishan-xincun (Pukou) to Jinniuhu (Luhe), opened in 2014, 45.2 kilometers (28.1 miles) in length, 17 stations
Line S9 from Xiangyulunan (Jiangning) to Gaochun (Gaochun), opened in 2017,52.4 kilometers (32.6 miles) in length, 6 stations

Nanjing Train and Bus Stations

There are two main train stations in Nanjing: 1) the Nanjing South Railway Station; and 2) Nanjing Railway Station. Only a handful of trains, going to the destinations to the southwest of Nanjing, pass through the (old) Nanjing South railway station, which is located south of Nanjing's walled city. Nanjing West railway station is closed.

1) The Nanjing South Railway Station (Nanjing Metro Lines 1, 3, S1 and S3) is a high-speed railway station in Nanjing, serving the Beijing–Shanghai (Jinghu) high-speed railway, Shanghai–Nanjing (Huning) intercity railway, Nanjing–Hangzhou (Ninghang) high-speed railway and the Shanghai–Wuhan–Chengdu (Huhanrong) high-speed railway. Opened in 2011, it is one of the world's largest railway stations in terms of floor area, with 458,000 square meters (4,930,000 square feet) of floor area on five levels, allowing a zero-distance transfer to Nanjing Metro, Nanjing municipal buses and Airport bus lines.

2) Nanjing Railway Station (Nanjing Metro Lines 1 and 2) is located in the northern part of Nanjing, not far from the city wall, and Xuanwu Lake. It serves a few high speed trains and many of the old slower trains. Until 2010, it was the main railway station of Nanjing. After the opening of new Nanjing South railway station most of the high-speed trains serving Nanjing were re-routed to that station. However, Nanjing station has frequent high-speed service to Shanghai and Shanghai Hongqiao, with some of these trains also stopping at Zhenjiang, Changzhou and Suzhou. Overnight D trains to Beijing South railway station, Tianjin West railway station, or Xian North railway station still use this station. Nanjing railway station is is also the terminal for many of the city bus lines.

You can get to Nanjing by a bus that leaves from Pudong Airport in Shanghai. Most long-distance bus services and buses serving destinations outside Nanjing depart from Zhongyangmen bus station, a large modern terminal in northern Nanjing, about 10 minutes walking to the west of Nanjing Railway Station. The bus station has English signs and announcements but the ticket clerks generally cannot understand English. Try to have eveything written down in Chinese characters. Some services into Anhui province depart from Nanjing South (Zhonghuamen) station, which is adjacent to Zhonghuamen metro station. There are also bus stations serving nearby destinations at Hanzhongmen, Nanjing East (to the north of Purple Mountain) and Nanjing North (on the west side of the Yangtze River).

Qinhuai River

Qinhuai River (flowing for five kilometers through the southern part of Nanjing) was famous from the 14th to the early 20th century for its restaurants, brothels, and beautiful lantern boats. This part of Nanjing has recently been restored. Along its banks is the Temple of Confucius, a popular cultural center that sometimes hosts local kunju drama, tea houses, shops and inns. One can try over 200 different kinds of food at the local snack bars at the river’s entertainment area. .

The Qinhuai River is divided into inner and outer rivers, with a total length of 110 kilometers (68.35 miles). The inner river, located inside the city, has been famous throughout Chinese history. Historical records reveal that as early as in the Paleolithic Age, people were found in this area. During China's dynastic periods, this riverside region had a bustling nightlife where extravagant nobles, talents and businessmen flocked to local restaurants and dance halls. [Source: China.org]

Today, the scenic belt along the Qinhuai River features many attractions. Constructed in 1034 during the Song Dynasty (960-1279), the Confucius Temple, known as Fuzimiao in Chinese, is a place to worship and consecrate Confucius, the great philosopher and educator of ancient China. Other attractions include Zhanyuan Garden, Ming walls, Egret Islet and China Gate. Having a boat tour along the river to enjoy Nanjing's fantastic night scene is always a great way to see the city.

Sights in Nanjing

Sights in Nanjing include a few gates from the Ming City Wall, the ruins of a Ming Palace, the Bell Tower (with a large bell cast in 1368), Chaotian Temple, Taiping Museum, and the Jade Workshop (employs 60 carvers who mostly work soapstone and coral). Nanjing Museum has a fine collection of Ming and Qing Dynasty porcelain. At the Hongshan Forest Zoo you can see a roller-skating parrot. The Lantern Festival in the central marketplace is a popular attraction.. Lovely lakes, luxuriant greenery and tree-lined roads make it one of the more charming Chinese cities.

Hunan Road is the main shopping area of Nanjing. It is to Nanjing what Nanjing Road to Shanghai. The street is several hundred meters long and lined with an impressive skyline of buildings. There are hundreds of clothes shops, department stores and up-market restaurants. Many well-known international brand-names can be found in this street. The Shiziqiao Food Street in this area is a paradise for gourmets.

Nanjing 1912 District (Metro Line2, Daxinggong Station, walk north along Taiping North Road for about 400 meters) is one of Nanjing’s main bar, restaurant and entertainment areas. According to gonanjingchina: “Within a stone's throw from the Presidential Palace, 1912 Bar Street is a fashionable leisure street in Nanjing representing a unique profile of the Republic of China era (1912-1949). It covers an area of nearly 4 hectares. 19 separate 20th century's villas are distributed like 'L'. It is the 'Nanjing's Night Lounge', with colorful lights, unique architecture, international bars, popular restaurants, fashionable clubs and discos gathering together. Always mention 'Bing Pi Jiu ' (iced beer) to waiters. Otherwise, you are most likely to get beer with room temperature.” The Confucius Temple in this areas charges an admission of 40 yuan (US$6.33) per person; Nanjing Bridge over the Chang Jiang (Yangtze) River is one of China's most spectacular spans. It is a double-deck bridge handling both rail and motor vehicles, making Nanjing a major transportation center for north-south traffic.

Zifeng Tower in Nanjing is the 21st tallest building in the world. (as of 2020). Completed in 2010, it is 450 meters (1,476 feet) tall and has 89 floors. Golden Eagle Tiandi Tower A in Nanjing is the 59th tallest building in the world. (as of 2020). Completed in 2018, it is 368.1 meters (1,208 feet) tall and has 76 floors. In 2017, the state-owned developer China Jinmao Holdings bought a land parcel in Nanjing under an agreement that requires the buyer to build a 500-meter-plus office building, which would surpass the 450-meter Zifeng Tower, as the tallest in the city. [Source: Wikipedia, South China Morning Post]

Nanjing Normal University was named one the ten most beautiful universities in China Formerly Jinling women's college, Nanjing Normal University is a comprehensive normal university with a long history of postgraduate education. It was one the first higher education institutions in China to resume graduate programs after the Cultural Revolution. The campus of Nanjing Normal University features woods, lawns and traditional Chinese-style buildings built in the early twentieth century. [Source: Lu Na, China.org, March 31, 2011]

Ming Dynasty Walls of Nanjing

City Walls of the Ming and Qing Dynasties were nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008. According to a report submitted to UNESCO: “The City Wall of Nanjing refers to the wall of the ancient capital city of Nanjing built in the early Ming Dynasty. Located by the southern bank of the lower Yangtze River, it is built to protect the only capital of ancient China that had ever been built to the south of the Yangtze River. As a piece of representative work created in the heyday of capital development in ancient China, it represents an important period of urban construction and development in human history. While carrying forward the traditional Chinese thinking about city development, the planners of the City Wall of Nanjing originally integrated the human creation with natural mountains and rivers, thus giving it an important position in China's long history of city planning and city wall construction. All the bricks,” totalling millions in number, “are marked with Chinese characters recording their origin, the official in charge of their making, and the individual maker. They constitute the biggest group of brick records ever found in China. The extensive use of brick and stone structures in urban construction during the Ming and the Qing dynasties, including the use of bricks for the building of parts of the Great Wall, can be traced to the construction of the City Wall of Nanjing. Its total length is 35.267 kilometers. Only 25.09 kilometers of the wall still remains today. Still, it is the most ancient city wall still standing in China and in the world as a whole today. It is witness to the brilliant achievements of ancient China in the planning of urban defence facilities, craftsmanship of city wall construction, and overall development of feudal capitals.[Source: State Administration of Cultural Heritage, People’s Republic of China]

“25.091 kilometers of the City Wall of Nanjing still stands today, with four original gates, one water pass, and eight gates conserved or newly built since 1911. With more than two thirds of the wall put into effective protection and display in their original shape, the wall now stands as a local urban landscape of great importance and a valuable symbol of Nanjing as a city famous for its history and culture. The moat, running 31.159 kilometers long, is basically intact and makes up an important component part of the water systems of Nanjing. In order to facilitate the protection of the wall, the local government has set up two permanent organs to take charge of its repairs, researches, and presentations, namely, the Administration of the City Wall of Nanjing and the Nanjing Museum of the History of the City Walls of the Ming Dynasty.

“In China's 5,000-year history of city wall development,” thousands of “walls including the walls of capitals and other cities were constructed before 368 A.D. Due to influence from construction of the City Wall of Nanjing in 1368 A.D., the number climbed steeply and reached over 4,000 by 9. Of these walls, the City Wall of Nanjing, once the capital of a feudal empire, is the largest and stands as a milestone in the Chinese history of development of city walls.

“In less than 100 years after the mid 1950s, many city walls in China were pulled down, with those still kept intact accounting for less than 10 per cent of their total. Of the city walls that have been kept in their fairly complete shapes, the City Wall of Nanjing is of the highest grade because of its nature as the wall of an ancient capital city. All the other walls stand at lower levels. The wall of Xian, for instance, built in 1374 A.D. and running 13.74 kilometers long, is the wall of a prince's mansion in origin, while the wall of Xingcheng City, built in 1430 A.D. and running 3.274 kilometers long, is the wall of a county-level military satellite town in origin. Of the city walls built almost at the same time, the City Wall of Nanjing is the oldest, longest and highest in level. Moreover, all the bricks in the City Wall of Nanjing carry inscriptions, a unique character absent in all other city walls. The City Wall of Nanjing is witness to the sternness and strictness of the system followed by an ancient power. Although there are many ancient capitals in China, most of their ground buildings were destroyed due to historic reasons. The City Wall of Nanjing is a rare and valuable material evidence of ancient capital cities in China.

“Since its completion, the City Wall of Nanjing has suffered damages from wars, natural forces, and the modern move of urbanization development. Still, 25.091 kilometers of it has been kept intact. This is a rare case in all cities across the world. The ‘Carcassonne Metropolitan of Historic City Walls in France, for instance, is by no means a metropolitan its true sense. Instead, it is merely a castle serving as an imperial pass and runs just about two kilometers in circumference. The wall of the Italian city Luca, for another instance, was completed in 1645 with a circumference of 4.195 kilometers. It has never suffered any damages from wars. The relic of an ancient Indian city, about six kilometers in circumference, is in fact a town built in 1573 to mark the expedition to west India. None of the above is comparable to the City Wall of Nanjing in terms of the number of residents or the length of history. In one word, compared with other city walls, the City Wall of Nanjing has outstanding four major features: 1) The biggest scale and longest use; 2) The most perfect planning; 3) The largest group of brick inscriptions; 4) The only city wall of an ancient Chinese capital still standing today.”

Memorial Hall to Victims in the Nanjing Massacre

The Nanjing Memorial (Metro Line 2, Yunjinlu Station, Exit 2) was built on a former mass grave where 8,000 bodies were exhumed. Opened in 1985, it contains galleries, exhibits, walkways on rough granite blocks, and beds of stones representing the dead. The galleries display photographs taken by Japanese of Japanese soldiers holding up severed heads, placing their feet on dead women and babies, and standing besides dead people hung from ropes as the were prized fish. There are also pictures of rape victims begging for mercy.

Memorial Hall to Victims in the Nanjing Massacre reopened in December 2007 to mark the 70th anniversary of the Nanjing Massacre with a 10-fold increase in floor space to 9,000 square meters. The plot of land the museum stands on is 7.4 hectares, three times larger than before. There are now 3,500 photographs, many of them quite horrible and graphic. The whole museum plays up the brutality of the Japanese more than previous exhibits.

The museum contains a bilateral “friendship” center that explains some nice things the Japanese have done for the Chinese and built a 3.2 hectare “peace square” with a goddess statue. Even so the Japanese government has requested that China tone down the contents of the memorial hall on the grounds they “inspire anti-Japanese feeling and animosity” among Chinese citizens. The Chinese want the museum to be given UNESCO World Heritage status like Auschwitz and Hiroshima Peace Park. The expansion of the museum’s grounds is believed to have been taken to qualify for World Heritage status. Web Site: Wikipedia

Zheng He in Nanjing

Zheng He (also known as Chêng Ho, Cheng Ho, Zheng Ho, and the Three-Jewel Eunuch) was a Chinese navigator without a penis or a set of testicles whose achievements as an explorer rank with those of Columbus and Magellan but who has been largely forgotten because his travels had little impact on history. Zheng He lived much of his life in Nanjing. His huge fleet was built there and all seven of the grand expeditions led by Zheng began and ended in Nanjing. He died at sea during one of his expeditions but his tomb is in Nanjing. [Source: Frank Viviano, National Geographic, July 2005]

Zheng Ho (pronounced “jung huh”) embarked from China with a huge fleet of ships and journeyed as far west as Africa, through what the Chinese called the Western seas, in 1433, sixty years before Columbus sailed to America and Vasco de Gama sailed around Africa to get to Asia. Zheng also explored India, Indonesia, Southeast Asia, and Arabia with about 75 times as many ships and men as Columbus took with him on his trans-Atlantic journey.

According to Columbia University's Asia for Educators: “From 1405 until 1433, the Chinese imperial eunuch Zheng He led seven ocean expeditions for the Ming emperor that are unmatched in world history. These missions were astonishing as much for their distance as for their size: during the first ones, Zheng He traveled all the way from China to Southeast Asia and then on to India, all the way to major trading sites on India's southwest coast. In his fourth voyage, he traveled to the Persian Gulf. But for the three last voyages, Zheng went even further, all the way to the east coast of Africa. This was impressive enough, but Chinese merchants had traveled this far before. What was even more impressive about these voyages was that they were done with hundreds of huge ships and tens of thousands of sailors and other passengers. Over sixty of the three hundred seventeen ships on the first voyage were enormous "Treasure Ships," sailing vessels over 400 hundred feet long, 160 feet wide, with several stories, nine masts and twelve sails, and luxurious staterooms complete with balconies. The likes of these ships had never before been seen in the world, and it would not be until World War I that such an armada would be assembled again. The story of how these flotillas came to be assembled, where they went, and what happened to them is one of the great sagas — and puzzles — in world history.

Zheng He Sights in Nanjing

Zheng He Park (No. 35 Taiping Lane) is located at the original site of the private garden of Zheng He’s mansion, where he lived when he was the garrison officer of Nanjing. Formerly known as “Taiping Park” and built in 1953, Zheng He Park covers an area of 2.2 hectares. Inside the park are the Memorial Hall of Zheng He, the earliest one in China, and Shuangbao Pavilion. [Source: Annie Chen, chinatravelpage.com, November 20, 2014]

Treasure Ship Shipyard Site (Zhongbao Village, on the Yangtze River, west of Nanjing in Gulou District) is a park built around a large series of ruins to commemorate the 600th anniversary of Zheng He’s voyages. Attractions inside the park include the Memorial Archway, Zheng He Bell, Museum Square, the Museum of Treasure Ships (bao chuan), the Watchtower, the Ancient Shipyard, and the Treasure Sailing Vessel.

Jinghai Temple (southwest of Lion Mountain) was ordered by Ming Emperor Zhu Di to reward Zheng He for his voyages.“Jinghai” means peace and calmness. Initially, the temple covered an area of about 2 hectares, and consisted of 80 rooms and halls including Diamond Hall, the Bell and Drum Tower, the Hall of Heavenly Kings, and the Founder’s Hall. Zheng He lived in the Jinghai Temple in his later years, and it was here he placed some of the rare treasures he took back from his many voyages.

Zheng He’s Tomb (southern part of Niushou Mountain) was built to commemorate the 580th anniversary of Zheng He’s voyages. The rectangular tomb runs for about 150 meters from north to south, and 60 meters from east to west, with a height of about 8 meters. The 28 steps in front of the tomb are divided into four groups and seven layers, signifying that Zheng He’s seven voyages.

Tianfei Palace (northern part of Jianning Road, at the foot of Lion Mountain, outside the Yifeng Gate in Xiaguan District) was built in 1407. Emperor Yongle named the palace after Tianfei to commemorate the peaceful return of Zheng He from his first voyage. Tianfei — known as called “Matsu” in Fujian, Guangdong, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, and Southeast Asia — is a peaceful goddess who serves as a kind of patron saint to navigators. To celebrate the 600th anniversary of Zheng He’s voyages, Tianfei Palace was rebuilt on the same site.

Near Nanjing

Purple Mountains (Metro Line 2, Muxuyuan Station, or Line 4, Gangzicun Station) lies to east of Nanjing in Zhongshan Mountain National Park and is also known as Mount Zijin and Zhongshan Hill. Here you can find the Zijin Shab Observatory of the China Academy of Sciences, with its extensive collection of ancient astronomical instruments, Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum, Ming Xaio Tombs, and the Linggu Si (Soul Valley Temple).

Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum (Line 2, Xiamafang Station) honors the great Chinese revolutionary and democracy pioneer, Dr. Sun Yat-sen (1866-1925). Situated in a lovely forested suburb of Nanjing on the slope of Zhongshan Hill, it is comprised of 392 granite steps lead up to huge marble reclining statue of Sun Yat-sen, under which he is buried. The entire mausoleum covers over 80,000 square meters and the structures is arranged in the form of a freedom bell.

Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum is the burial site of Sun Yat-sen. It is situated at the foot of the second peak of Purple Mountain. Covering an area of more than eight hectares and built between 1926 and 1929., the majestic mausoleum lies on a mountain slope and blends the styles of traditional imperial tombs and modern architecture, Among the memorial buildings that surround the mausoleum are Xingjian Pavilion, Guanghua Pavilion, Music Stand, Liuhui Pavilion, Yangzhi Pavilion and the Scriptorium; Admission: 80 yuan (US$12.66) per person; Soul Valley Temple (two kilometers from the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum) was originally built in A.D. 514. It is home of the famous Beamless Hall, a 70-foot-high brick building made without any beams or wood. Other attractions at the temple complex include Sighing of the Wind in the White Pines Pavilion and the Linggu Pagoda.

Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum (Metro Line 2, Muxuyuan Station or Line 4, Gangzicun Station) is located at the southern foot of Mount Zijin (Purple Mountain) in the eastern suburb of Nanjing City, Jiangsu Province, Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum is the tomb of the first Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) emperor Zhu Yuanzhang and his empress. It is the largest imperial tomb in Nanjing City and one of the largest ancient imperial tombs in China. After he was installed as emperor, Zhu Yuanzhang spent over 30 years on the construction of the tomb.

The mausoleum covers an area of several square kilometers and its wall runs up to 45 kilometers (27.96 miles) in length. The 600 years old mausoleum has been severely damaged and many wooden buildings have vanished. The stone animals in front of the imperial tomb are delicately sculptured, which demonstrates the remarkable stone carving skills of the Ming Dynasty. Furthermore, the overall environment and especially its natural scenery are well-preserved and quite amazing. Along with the Ming Dynasty Tombs in Beijing, the Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum was inscribed by UNESCO as part of the World Heritage Sites "Imperial Tombs of the Ming and Qing dynasties" in 2003; Admission: 70 yuan (US$11.07) per person

Wuhu (in Anhui Province, 60 kilometers up river from Nanjing) is the home Chery, the Chinese car maker with ambitions of making it big in the United States. The city had 700,000 people in the early 2000s but was growing fast as car parts suppliers and auto-related businesses have began sprouting up. Wuhu sits in the east bank of the Yangtze. In 1876 it was declared a city where the British could engage in trade. The British responded by quickly opening a opium processing plant. In 1992, during the Deng era, Wuhu was declared a free trade city. Websites: Travel China Guide Budget Accommodation: Check Lonely Planet books; Getting There: Wuhu is accessible by air, bus train and Yangtze river boat.

Yangshan Stone Tablet

Yangshan Stone Tablet (22 kilometers from Nanjing) is a massive 31,000-ton monument the size of skyscraper. Located in an imperial quarry set among hills and canyons, it was created by the Emperor Yongle in the 15th century to honor his father, the founder of the Ming Dynasty.

The idea was to create the world's largest monument in three parts: a base, stale and cap, that together would have stood 25 stories high. Thousands of workers spent years carving the stone from the mountain at great expense but ultimately the project was never completed because no one could figure out a way to move the stones (even today it can't be done).

Very few people visit the site. There is a US$1 admission charge but often there is no one in the ticket office. About a half mile from the ticket office is house-size rock intended to be the base on the monument. A little further is a similar-sized rock intended to be the cap. The tablet itself is little farther, still partly connected a hillside. It is possible to walk on top of it. Not far away is a Ming tomb area, where the monument was supposed to go.

Shanjuan Cave

Shanjuan Cave (75 kilometers southeast of Nanjing) is a famous limestone cave situated on Luoyan Mountain, 25 kilometers (15.53 miles) away from southwestern Yixing, Jiangsu Province. It is the oddest among the "three odd caves" in the area and the other two are Zhanggong Cave and Linggu Cave. [Source: China.org]

Inside Shanjuan Cave is a world of stalactites, stone pillars and rock formations. It is about 800 meters (0.5 miles) in length and covers an area of 5,000 square meters (0.5 hectares), and could accommodate more than 1,000 people. The cave is illuminated by colored lighting. It has a temperature of about 23 (73.4) all year round.

The cave's main entrance is at the mid-level, featuring an impressive entrance hall of about 1,000 square meters (0.1 hectares), with poems painted on the walls in calligraphy.

The cave complex consists of four levels: top, bottom, middle and back. These caves meet and make up several floors, similar to a stone building. The most attractive feature is an underground waterway connected with the back level that can only be traversed by boat; Admission: 130 yuan (US$20.57) per person.

Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons

Text Sources: CNTO (China National Tourist Organization), China.org, UNESCO, reports submitted to UNESCO, Wikipedia, Lonely Planet guides, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, National Geographic, China Daily, Xinhua, Global Times, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Bloomberg, Reuters, Associated Press, AFP, Compton's Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.

Updated in July 2020


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