Scenic Spots in Nanjing

Qinhuai River

Qinhuai River is divided into the inner and outer tributaries. The inner tributary flows through Nanjing City, and from the Five Dynasties it has got a good name of " Gold Powder of the Five Dynasties" and "10-mile Qinhuai River". Countless tourists come to visit Qinhuai River by the Confucius Temple. An outstanding woman of the Ming Dynasty Li Xiangjun's Meixiang Building is situated on the Shixian Street along the river. The poem "Wuyi Lane" by Liu Yuxi, a famous poet of the Tang Dynasty, refers to this area.

Nanjing Drum Tower

Nanjing Drum Tower, built in the Ming Dynasty, is located in the central part of Nanjing City. It consists of two stories: the lower floor is an arch beamless hall and the upper floor is a wooden structure with double eaves. Around the tower there are 24 large stone pillars. The walls on the four sides are red in color. The total area is 880 square meters.

Jiming Temple

Jiming Temple is located in the northeastern part of Nanjing City. It was built first in the Southern Tang Dynasty and then in the Song Dynasty. The existing Temple was built in the Ming Dynasty. With Lake Xuanwu at the back, Jiming Temple faces the Purple Mountain to the east. Inside the temple are Guanyin Building, Huomeng Building, Jingyang Building, Rouge Well, etc. Legend has it that when the emperor of the Southern Tang Dynasty and his concubine hid themselves in the well in order to escape the enemy pursuit, the stains of rouge were left on the well: hence the name of Rough Well. Behind the temple there remains a section of palace wall called Taicheng.

Taiping Heavenly-Kingdom Palace

Taiping Heavenly-Kingdom palace is situated at 292 Changjiang Road. It used to be the king of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom Hong Xiuquan's imperial palace. Later, it was burnt down by the army of the Qing Dynasty, with only the West Garden left to the east of the former hall. Dr Sun Yat-sen took the post of interim president here, and the presidential office building still remains. During the period of the Republic of China before 1949, it was used as the presidential palace. Now it is the seat of the Jiangsu People's Political Consultative Conference.

Zhanyuan Garden

Zhanyuan Garden lies to the west of the Confucius Temple in the south of Nanjing. Built in the Ming Dynasty, it was first the emperor Zhu Yuanzhang's palace and then the senior official Xu Da's official residence. The name of the garden originated from the emperor of the Qing Dynasty Qian Long's inscription "Zhan Wang Yu Tang" (looking at the beautiful hall). The historical relics and pictures are on display in the hall of the garden. Behind the hall are the pond, waterfall, mountain stones, winding corridor, pavilions, etc. The Taihu stones in the garden are the remains of the Northern Song Dynasty.

Dr Sun Yat-sen's Mausoleum

Dr Sun Yat-sen's Mausoleum is situated in the eastern suburb. Facing south, it occupies an area of over 133 hectares. It was built in 1929 for the burial of Sun Yat-sen's body. The whole structure is of the combination of Western and Chinese architectural styles. Its architect is Lu Yanzhi.

Linggu Temple

Built in the Ming Dynasty, Linggu Temple is to the east of Dr Su Yat-sen's Mausoleum. To the west of the temple there is a beamless hall, which is 40 meters in width and 25 meters in height. It is built with only stones and bricks. At the back of the hall stands Linggu Pagoda, which is nine stories high. There are eight sides on every floor. Tourists can ascend to each floor by spiral stairs inside the pagoda and look into the distance. The inscription on a tablet in the temple was written by the great calligrapher Yan Zhenqing of the Tang Dynasty.

Tom of Ming Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang

The tomb is located to the west of Dr Sun Yat-sen's Mausoleum. It took 17 years to construct the tomb. What remains is only its last part. The tomb area is divided into two parts: the tomb passage and the main part. On either side of the tomb passage stand stone animals and figures. In the tomb area there is a tower called Yi Cheng. Steps lead to its top at which there is a carved stone with the inscription "This Hill is Ming Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang's Tomb". Underneath the tower is Zhu Yuanzhang's grave. Not far away from it, there is a citadel enclosed by walls inside which is a big monument erected by Zhu Yuanzhang's son Zhu Di in memory of his father's merits and virtues.

Ming Palace

Ming Palace, situated in the southeast of Nanjing City, used to be Zhu Yuanzhang's imperial palace in the Ming Dynasty. There were the Imperial Ancestral Temple, the state altar and all facilities of the imperial palace. When Zhu Di moved the capital from Nanjing to Beijing, he built Beijing Imperial Palace in imitation of Ming Palace in Nanjing. Ming Palace was destroyed in the war at the end of the Qing Dynasty. Now what remain are only some carved stones, building foundation, column base, etc.

Stone Carvings of the Six Dynasties

In Ganjiaxiang and the nearby field to the west of Qixia Mountain in Nanjing, there exist gravestones of Xiao Xiu, Xiao Zhan, Xiao Lu and other emperors in the Liang Dynasty and the Chen Dynasty, stone pillars, stone animals and other groups of stone carvings. The emblem of Nanjing City is a stone animal. In addition, in Jurong, Jiangning, Danyang and other places near Nanjing, the remains of the Six Dynasties are well preserved. Outside the Zhongshan Gate there is a stone carving at Songwu Emperor Liu Yu's tomb.

Lake Xuanwu

Lake Xuanwu is situated in the northeast of Nanjing City, with an area of 444 hectares, of which islets occupy only one-ninth. It is the largest lake in Nanjing. Xiaowu Emperor of the Song Dynasty once inspected the navy on the lake. In the Ming Dynasty, an imperial storehouse was built at Lake Xuanwu for storing national census records and grain tax documents. There are five islets on Lake Xuanwu: Isle Huanzhou t, Islet Yingzhou, Islet Liangzhou, Islet Cuizhou and Islet Lingzhou. The islets are covered by flowers, grass and trees, and connected by dykes and bridges.

Lake Mochou

Lake Mochou is situated outside the Gate Shuixi in the southwest of Nanjing City. According to legend, in the period of Nanqi of the Six Dynasties a Shuiyang girl named Mo Chou who was good at singing and dancing came from afar and got married here: hence the name of Lake Mouchou. At the lake are Shengqi Building, Yujin Building, the mid-lake pavilion, Guanghua Pavilion, Hexiang Waterside Pavilion, etc. Legend has it that Shengqi Building was the place where Ming Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang and the senior official Xu Da played chess. On the wall of Yujin Hall is a portrait of Mo Chou.

Yanzi Ji (the rock projecting over the Yangtze River)

Yanzi Ji is situated to the northeast of Mount Mufu in the northern suburb of Nanjing. Projecting over the Yangtze River, it is 36 meters in height and surrounded by water on its three sides, like a vigorous swallow ready to fly. In the precipice along the River there are many famous grottos, such as Toudai Grotto, Ertai Grotto and Santai Grotto, inside which stalactites can be seen. Yanzi Ji has always been a strategic point and is also an important ferry for those going north from Nanjing. When the emperor of the Qing Dynasty made an inspection tour of South China, an imperial stele pavilion was built here. On the stele is the inscription.

Yuhuatai (Terrace of the Raining Flowers)

Yuhuatai, situated outside the Zhoughua Gate, is a hillock full of small stones. Legend has it that the eminent monk of the Liang Dynasty Master Yun Guang preached here, which moved Buddha, and flowers dropped like rain: hence the name. There are small figured stones of various colors in the clay of Yuhuatai, called Yuhua Stones. In the east of Yuhuatai is the cemetery of revolutionary martyrs. Moreover, there is a spring called "The Second Spring South of the Yangtze River".

Qixia Temple

Qixia Temple, lying on Qixia Mountain, was originally built in the Southern Dynasty. It is one of the ancient famous temples in the south of the Yangtze River. In the walls of 1,000-Buddha mountain ridge a large number of niches can be found together with 515 statues of Buddha. Inside the last niche is the statue of a mason. The pagoda for Buddhist relics in the temple was originally built in the Sui Dynasty. It is an imitation of wooden structure with five stories. There are eight sides on each floor. On the base of the pagoda is a relief sculpture of Buddha, and on the first floor are the sculptures of the four gods and flying Apsaras.

Bailuzhou Park

Bailuzhou Park is situated in the southeast of Nanjing and on the northern bank of Qinhuai River. It used to be the senior official of the Ming Dynasty Xu Da's private garden. In the park there are a lake, rockeries, buildings and pavilions. Flowers and grass can be found everywhere.

Two Tombs of the Southern Tang Dynasty

Located at the foot of Zutang Mountain, they are Li Sheng and Li Jing's tombs in the Southern Tang Dynasty. Li Sheng's coffin chamber is larger, and on the door of the tomb there are colored patterns. In the middle chamber there are relief sculptures. On the roof of the back chamber there is a coloured drawing of the sun, moon and stars, and on the floor there are stone carvings of mountains, rivers and lakes, and cultural relics.

Gate Zhonghua

Gate Zhonghua is the southern city gate of Nanjing and it is also named " Gate Jubao ". Built in the Ming Dynasty, it is the largest ancient citadel in China, with an area of more than 15,000 square meters. There are three small citadels connected by four arched doors. Within the city gate there are altogether 27 caves, 7 of which from east to west can hide soldiers. The largest cave can hold 1,000 persons. The outer city wall, built of rectangular slabs of stone, is more than 20 meters in height.

Saoye Building ( Leaves Clearance Building)

Saoye Building is located inside Qingliangshan Park in the northwest of Nanjing City. It used to be the residence of Gong Xian, poet and painter at the end of the Ming Dynasty and the beginning of the Qing Dynasty. It was rebuilt in the Qing Dynasty. Gong Xian settled down on Qingliang Mountain and planted half a mu of grass. He named his garden "Banshanyuan" (garden halfway up a mountain ). His building was called "Saoye Building" because he drew a picture of a monk clearing leaves with a broom in his hands. Gong Xian's drawings are now on display in the building.

Zhou Chu's Study Platform

Zhou Chu's Study Platform is located to the east of Zhonghua Gate in the southeastern corner of Nanjing City. It was where Zhou Chu of the Jin Dynasty studied very hard. Zhou Chu, who was from Yixing, behaved badly when young, and he was regarded by villagers as one of the three rascals. After he killed the other two rascals, he came to Nanjing for study supervised by the two great scholars of the times Lu Ji and Lu Yun. He built a platform near his teachers' residence, reading books and mending his ways. Later, he became an eminent hero and died in the battlefield.

Chaotian Palace

Chaotian Palace lies on Yeshan Hill in the west of Nanjing City. According to legend, Fu Chai, the emperor of Wu State of the times of Spring and Autumn, cast swords here. The name of Chaotian Palace started to be used in the Ming Dynasty. The present structures built on a grand scale at the end of the Qing Dynasty are laid out symmetrically on either side of the axis.

Tomb of Ming Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang

The tomb lies on Dulongbu Hill below the western peak (Wanzhu Peak) of the purple Mountain. The first Ming Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang and his wife Ma Shi were buried here. The tomb was built in 1391--1393. Its site and structure were chosen by Zhu Yuanzhang himself. The tomb is characteristic of the wonderful arrangement of the winding tomb passage in combination with the topography. The tomb passage starts from the Dismounting-from-Horse Archway in Weigang where there are two stone tablets (moved to the side of the highway). Hundreds of steps to the northwest is the Big Golden Gate, where the imperial wall of the tomb area starts and extends as long as 22.5 kilometers, reaching the city wall on the west and Linggu Temple on the east. The Big Golden Gate has three archways with single eaves and gable and hip roofs which have been destroyed. To the north of the gate is the Monument Pavilion, commonly called the Squared Citadel, in which is a 8.87 meter-high monument, one of the huge ancient monuments of China. It was erected in 1413 by Zhu Di for his father Zhu Yuanzhang in memory of his great achievements. To the north of the pavilion is the Yuqiao Bridge where the tomb passage turns west. The hillock is flat and wide. On either side of the passage stand large stone animals. Then the passage turns north. One can see a pair of ornamental columns followed by four pairs of statues: two pairs of generals and two pairs of civil officials. Then it is Lingxing Gate. The passage turns northeast and extends to the back of the Plum Flower Hill which is just in front of the tomb and where the emperor of the Three Kingdoms Sun Quan was buried. Then the passage comes to the Gold Water Bridge, north of which is the tomb axis. Here is the end of the leading part. Over 100 steps across the bridge is a gate and after that is Xiangdian Hall Gate. Xiangdian Hall is also called "Xiaoling Hall" and has 9 bays. On both sides are small houses. Outside the gate are the Pavilion for killing animals as sacrifices, Jufu Hall, etc. At the back of Xiaoling Hall there are three varied archways. The body of the tomb is called "the Precious Citadel", and surrounded by high walls of huge rocks in the shape of a rough circle. Before the tomb is the memorial shrine on a high square-walled bastion made of rectangular rocks. Underneath the bastion is a tunnel with stone steps leading first to the back of the bastion and then to the shrine. At the mouth the tunnel is a huge stone bridge, called the Immortal-Turning Bridge. The bridge face is wide and flat like a square, which can also be used as a place for a memorial ceremony.

Linggu Temple

Linggu Temple is situated on the Dulong Hillock on the left of the Purple Mountain in the northeastern suburb of Nanjing. The temple originally lay before the Wanzhu Peak south of the Purple Mountain. In the Liang Dynasty Buddhist Master Baozhi was buried here. Kaishan Hall and a five-storied pagoda. It was named "Baogong Monastery" in the Tang Dynasty, Kaishan Monastery in the Later Tang Dynasty, Taiping Xingguo Temple in the Song Dynasty, and Jiangshan Temple in the Yuan Dynasty and the beginning of the Ming Dynasty. As the pagoda was too close to the imperial palace, the temple was moved to the present site, renamed "Linggu Temple" and presented with a horizontal board with the inscription of "FIRST BUDDHIST MONASTERY".

Zhanyuan Garden

Zhanyuan Garden is located on Zhanyuan Road in the south of Nanjing City. At the beginning of the Ming Dynasty, it was part of the senior official Xu Da's residence. In the Qing Dynasty it was the official mansion, while in the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom it served first as the high-ranking official Yang Xiuqing's residence and then as the vice prime minister Lai Hanying's residence. Afterwards, it was reused as the official mansion. The existing structure was built after the period of Tongzhi in the Qing Dynasty. Since 1994 it has served as the Museum of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom.

Zhonghua Gate

Zhonghua Gate was originally named Jubao Gate. Nanjing City of the Ming Dynasty was extended from the basis of Jinling City. Jubao Gate was the site of the southern gate of Jinling City. Nanjing City wall was rebuilt during the period of 1366-1387. Of all the city gates, Jubao Gate was the best in scale and quality, and this kind of city gate is rarely seen in the world history of city construction. Inside the gate there are three archways, which, together with the walls on the eastern and western sides, form a citadel, 129 meters from south to north and 118.5 meters from east to west. As the gate is close to the river, the citadel is situated inside the gate, which can be seen only in Nanjing. There are three more similar city gates: Shicheng (Hanxi) Gate, Sanshan (Shuixi) Gate and Tongji Gate, but they have already been removed. Only Zhonghua Gate still stands erect.

Tombs of the Southern Dynasties

Nanjing was called the place of gold powder of the six dynasties. The four dynasties of the Southern Dynasties--Song, Qi, Liang and Chen--established their capital here (120AD--589AD). The tombs of emperors, kings, noblemen and high officials are distributed in the suburbs of Nanjing, Jiangning, Jurong, Danyang and other counties. According to the survey, there are 26 tombs with relics, of which 19 tombs are as follows: The Song Dynasty :1 emperor's tomb in Nanjing The Qi Dynasty: 3 emperors' tombs in Danyang The Liang Dynasty: 3 emperors' tombs in Danyang; 8 high officials' tombs (6 in Nanjing, 1 in Jurong and 1 in Jiangning). The Chen Dynasty: 2 emperors' Tombs (1 in Nanjing and 1 in Jiangning).

Saoye Building (Leaves Clearance Building)

It is the place where Gong Xian, the painter of the end of the Ming Dynasty, lived in seclusion. As he once painted a picture of an old monk clearing tree leaves, he called himself "the monk of clearing leaves". The building in which he stayed was called "Saoye Building". It lies at the southern foot of Qingliang Hill in Nanjing.

Pagoda for Buddhist Relics in Qixia Temple

On Qixia Mountain is Qixia Temple built in 489 AD in the Southern Qi Dynasty. It is one of the famous ancient monasteries of China. The present halls were built in modern times. At the back of the temple is the pagoda for Buddhist relics, the remains of the Southern Tang Dynasty and one of the oldest stone pagodas south of the Yangtze River. It is a 15-meter-high 5-storied octagonal pagoda, and the earliest relics of a brick and stone pagoda in imitation of a wooden one, somewhat similar to a pagoda in the Liao Dynasty in the North. It is not only an elegant stone-carving work of art but also an important example in the architectural history. Between the cliffs behind the stone pagoda is the 1,000-Buddhist-Statue Crag created in the Qi and Liang Dynasties.

The Drum Tower and the Big Bell Pavilion

The Drum Tower lying on the western side of the People's Square in Nanjing City was first built in 1382 in the Ming Dynasty. Afterward, it was destroyed and rebuilt for several times. The existing structure was built at the end of the Qing Dynasty. The elevated stand of brick on which Drum Tower is rested is the original one of the Ming Dynasty. It is 8.9 meters high, 44.4 meters from east to west, and 22.6 meters from south to north. In the middle are three cylinder-shaped passageways from east to west for people to pass through. On either side of the front wall is a stone stairway leading to the stand surface where there is a rectangular pavilion with a gable and hip roof. Behind the two pavilions stands a two-storied tower with double eaves and a gable and hip roof, that is, the Drum Tower. It has three bays, with a length of 13.77 meters, a depth of 10.67 meters and a height of over 30 meters. On the four sides are window lattices by which people can look far into the distance; thus it is also called "Good View Tower". The Big Bell Pavilion lies at the intersection of Zhongyang Road to the northeast of the Drum Tower. The two structures face each other across the roads. At the back of the Big Bell Pavilion is Beijige (North Pole Pavilion). The former bell tower at the beginning of the Ming Dynasty lay to the west of the Drum Tower and contained three bells: a ringing bell, a vertical bell and a horizontal bell. Afterwards, the bell tower, the ringing bell and the vertical bell were destroyed and only the horizontal bell remained. In 1889 the official of Jiangming Xu Zhenwei built a pavilion at the present site and hung the horizontal bell in it. It is said that this bell is one of the four existing big bells of the Ming Dynasty, and its ringing can be heard five kilometers away. The pavilion has a pyramidal roof, double eaves and six sides, with a height of 14.5 meters. The big bell hangs on the frame of iron pillar and beam, Being the central structures of Nanjing City, the Drum Tower and the Big Bell Pavilion have become important symbols of the ancient city of Nanjing.

The Relics of the Heavenly-King Palace of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom

From 1853 to 1864, the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom established its capital in Tianjing (today's Nanjing), and the Heavenly King Hong Xiuquan built the Heavenly King Palace at 292 Changjiang Road. Opposite the archway is a screen wall, inside which there is a memorial tablet of the hundredth anniversary of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom. Behind the archway is a house of 17 bays on either side. Then it is the palace of 5 bays, each with a width of 35.2 meters and a depth of 13.4 meters. Before the palace is a house with a width of 26 metres and a depth of 4.6 meters. In front of the house is a platform with a width of 26 meters and a depth of 10 meters. The side walls of the platform are built with limestone and lined with city wall bricks of the Ming Dynasty glued together with yellow clay and lime. Behind the palace are the hallway and the room for keeping warm. On the sides of the hallway are three rows of halls in an I shape. On the west of the axis of the palace is the architectural group of the West Garden built on the basis of Xiyuan Garden in the Daoguang period of the Qing Dynasty. In the garden there exist a pool shaped like a vase, a marble boat, a waterside pavilion, the Banting Pavilion, the Yilan Pavilion, the Mandarin Pavilion, and so on.

Modern Architecture of Nanjing

Over a half century ago, a group of young architects returned to China after they finished their studies in Europe, America and Japan. They ingeniously combined the Western architectural theories with the Chinese traditional architectural styles and designed a large number of buildings within a short period of time, which are characteristic of national style and have added luster to the ancient city of Nanjing. They take a special position in the Chinese architectural history. Their names are Dr Sun Yat-sen's Mausoleum, Guanghua Pavilion, Meiling Palace, the Building of the former Foreign Affairs Ministry and the Northern Building of Nanjing University.