Tuesday, December 13, 2011


If you ever plan a trip to Shanghai for more than a week, you’ll have a lot of time to see some of the neighborhood cities even just for a day trip and make the most of your China vacation. I really suggest hopping on a train and visiting another city.

One nearby city worth visiting is the historical city of Nanjing. Nanjing used to be the former capital of China (formerly known as “Nanking”) and has an extremely important place in Chinese history and culture, having been renowned as the capital of several dynasties over the course of Chinese civilization.

If you’re coming from Shanghai, getting to Nanjing is easy as the Shanghai-Nanjing Intercity Railway now takes you there in only an hour and 13 minutes going west. If you live in Hefei (like me) it is equally easy to get to, only an hour away by train going east. It is a nearby neighbor, sitting between Hefei and Shanghai, and a city with real historic treasures. Here are some of Nanjing’s amazing pieces of history. 


The City Wall of Nanjing
The City Wall of Nanjing (also known as the Ming City Wall) was built by 200,000 laborers on the orders of the first Ming Dynasty Emperor, Zhu Yuanzhang, after he founded the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and established Nanjing as the capital 600 years ago. This amazing wall took 21 years to complete and surrounds the urban city center (which was the old city back then). The wall is over 600 years old but still stands looking practically brand new with over three-fourths of it still intact. Because of this, it is breathtakingly beautiful.


With friends at the foot of the Mausoleum in 2010
Sun Yat Sen is considered the “Father of Modern China”. He ended the monarchy in 1911 and founded the Republic of China, from which he was President of from 1912 until his death in Beijing in 1925. On May 28, 1929, his remains were transferred to Nanjing and placed in a special mausoleum made just for him. Construction of the tomb began in 1926 until 1929. Now the tomb is one of the best tourist spots in China. Situated at the foot of the second peak of Purple Mountain in Nanjing, it is majestic to see and after climbing the hundreds of steps to the top, the view of the city makes all that climbing worthwhile.


The Spirit Path: a path of stone animals leading up to the Ming Tomb
The entrance path to the Ming Tomb

The Ming Xiaoling Tomb is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located at the southern foot of Purple Mountain in Nanjing. It is the tomb of the first Ming Emperor (also called the Hongwu Emperor), the founder of the Ming Dynasty. It was built from 1381-1405.


The Temple of Confucius used to be an imperial examination center for the entire Jiangsu province. Now it is just a tiny museum, what was left of the original buildings. But it is a top tourist spot in Nanjing because of its location, right at the center of a massive shopping market and beside the Qinghuai river where you can take beautiful photos of the old town architecture and drink some tea while riding the gondola boats for a canal ride.