Nanjing History, Facts & Tourist Information

Nanjing is a city of 8.3 million inhabitants. It is Jiangsu’s capital city and one of the most important cities in Southern China. A Chu Kingdom’s sovereign founded the city in the 6th century B.C. In the year 229, it became the capital city of the Wu Kingdom which was one of the Three Kingdoms China had divided into. Throughout the following centuries, Southern China developed in peace far from the menace of the nomad peoples and thus, the city went on gaining importance. Emperor Taizu founded the Ming Dynasty in Nanjing remaining the most important city in Southern China since then.

Sun Yatsen’s Mausoleum: The slopes of Zijinshan are on the outskirts of Nanjing and apart from their extraordinary beauty they have gathered some of the city’s most important historical relics over the centuries. The Wu Kings’ tombs were built there. Centuries later the first Ming Dynasty’s emperor’s tomb and more recently, Sun Yatsen’s, founder of the Republic of China. This huge tomb starts with a Memorial Arch. Beyond the arch there is a long promenade flanked by trees. Further down is the Mausoleum’s Gate leading into the Stela Pavilion. The Commemorative Hall holds the Coffin’s Crypt at the top of the steps.

Ming Tomb: Zhu Yuanzhong, the first Ming Dynasty’s emperor, had quite a hectic existence. Born into a humble family, he had practiced different trades before joining the rebel forces who fought to overthrow the Mongol Yuan Dynasty. He gained several promotions within the army reaching the rank of commander. When the Yuan Dynasty was overthrown he declared himself the emperor and thus founded the Ming Dynasty.

There is only one Ming tomb in Nanjing which is the tomb of the first emperor. It is an enormous tomb. It is surrounded by a 23-kilometre wall which has not been excavated. The Sacred Path where you can see stoned sculptures of four pairs of civil servants and six pairs of animals is near the gate.

Naijing City Wall was built in 1366. It was more than 33 kilometers long and 14 meters high at the time which made it the largest wall in the world. The best place to admire the wall is from Zhonghua Gate. It is near the Old City. With its 15,000 square meters and 27 towers plus four rows of gates it could house a garrison of 3,000 soldiers.

In the old days, Confucius Temple was the centre of Nanjing’s cultural life. Close to Qinhuai River it is not very interesting to see. However, thorough reconstruction works are being carried out in an attempt to recreate, in a fairly successful manner, the former atmosphere of the city. Qinhuai River’s bridges have been restored as well as the most luxurious houses which were basically in ruins. In other words, there is being an attempt to recall past times.

Nanjing Yangzi River Bridge: The greatest engineering site achieved during the Cultural Revolution. It brought great improvement in communications between the North and the South as well as being the Chinese people’s pride and joy. It is 1,577 meters long and lies on 9 different pillars which sink to the bottom of the river. Ships up to 10,000 tons can sail under the bridge. Each bank has a tower where models of the bridge can be admired. One of the few remaining Mao Zedong statues is placed in the entrance hall.