Just a shy away from China’s glittering metropolis sits the coastal province of Jiangsu. The ‘land of fish and rice’ dates back to ancient times where access to the Yangtze River and other water sources has earned them the title. As dynasties came and fell, the seat of power has found themselves positioned in Jiangsu’s capital of Nanjing because of this strategic location. Known as ‘the capital city of ten dynasties’ in Chinese history, this should be a stopping point in any traveler’s trip to Asia where nature, cultural heritage, urbanization, and a long history await. Rounded below are some highlights to stop by should you find yourself in China.
Ming Great Wall of Nanjing
Standing at 35 kilometers long, these walls dating back to the Ming Dynasty are considered a national treasure. It was during Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang’s reign that the walls were built as a protection against foreign invaders. The Ming Great Wall of Nanjing has opened six sections to the public, namely: Zhonghua Men, Zhong Shan Gate, East Water Gate, Qing Ling Mountain, Ding Huai Gate, and Zhong Fu Road. Completed in 1386, the structure took 21 years to build with over 200,000 workers and consists of bricks amounting up to more than 300,000. A visit to this vast structure will help you understand the kind of profound past that China’s people has contributed in a rough history.
Sun Yatsen Mausoleum
This burial chamber is a monument dedicated to the Father of Modern China, Dr. Sun Yat-sen. It was in Nanjing where the Republic of China was born after Dr. Sun led the revolt to dismantle the corrupt Qing dynasty and where the government later relocated from Beijing. This democratic revolution ended the feudal monarchy system that lasted for the past 2000 years and led them to modernization. With magnificent architecture, beautiful scenery, and great historical significance, the place is considered a holy land to many and makes for a worthy place to spend time in. It is found on Purple Mountain, to the east of the City of Nanjing.
An arsenal of about 2,000 first class treasures, the museum boasts an impressive collection of historical pieces. This includes cultural artifacts, paintings, writings, and aged books, some even coming from abroad. Many of the relics found here contain a share from both the Qing and Shang dynasty, properly handled for the public to appreciate their historical value. Apart from the comprehensive pieces that depict Chinese history, the Nanjing Museum holds lecture series as well, which has attracted over 12,000,000 visitors both internationally and in China. If you find yourself to be a history buff, make sure to allocate a good amount of time to pay your visit.
After the establishment of the Kingdom of Heavenly Place (the result of the Taiping rebellion led by farmers), it became the home to the rebellion’s leaders. The Zhanyuan Garden is one of five famous gardens in Southern China, and the oldest, lasting over 600 years. It is also considered to be the most well preserved, with proper restoration in 1960 with the help of the government. It is divided into two parts, with the west wing holding a collection of cultural relics from the Taiping Rebellion and the right wing an exquisite array of pavilions, clear water pools, and winding, rocky pathways. This wonderful blend of nature and history makes for a great stop in any itinerary.
Memorial Hall of the Nanjing Massacre
The most solemn out of the bunch is the Memorial Hall dedicated to the approximate 300,000 victims of Nanjing. It was in September 1931 when Japan led a well-planned invasion that allowed them to take over the area in just five months. It was an incredibly devastating period, with men, women, and children of all lifestyles raped and murdered. The museum contains three parts, the outdoor exhibits, the remaining bones of those who suffered, and the exhibition hall for historical documents. It is through this presentation that serve as proof of the atrocities that occurred during the Nanjing Massacre, and a reminder for those who have been told to forget. Should you want to know more and pay your respects, this historical gem’s has no admission fee.
How’s that for a cultural dip? There is so much more that lies beyond Beijing and Shanghai, so make sure you take the time drop by the many delightful provinces that scatter the country.