Nanjing, the capital of Jiangsu Province, is a beautiful, charming and ancient city that has a progressive feel. It has a long history dating back as far as 472 BC and has been the home of many of China’s emperors thus giving the city a rich treasure trove of cultural relics and historic sites.
Nanjing’s rich history traces back to 495BC and has been the country’s capital on more than one occasion. It was the capital of the Ming empire from 1368 to 1421 during which time it was also believed to be one of the largest cities in the world.
In 1842, during the Opium War, British troops invaded Nanjing and the Treaty of Nanjing was drawn between the Chinese and the British.
In 1911 the city was central in the revolution led by Dr. Sat Yun Sen which led to the downfall of Chinas last emperor and the Qing Dynasty. It was at that time the then-new Republic of China was formed. Chiang Kai-shek took over leadership of the Kuomintang (KMT) political party led by Dr. Sat Yun Sen in 1925.
As much as the city has seen some great times in Chinas history, it has also seen some of the worse. The year was 1937 when the Japanese, just after taking control of Shanghai, invaded Nanjing and in a bloody battle took control of the city. During their 6 week occupation the Japanese were brutal, inflicting was is now referred to as the Nanjing Massacre where it’s claimed 300,000 Chinese died.
Not long after the Japanese occupation had ended, old political battles re-ignited, and the growing Chinese Communist Party (CCP) led by Mao Zedong, which had played a lead role in driving the Japanese out of the country, was keen to see the in-power KMT party step aside. After failed negotiations of the Americans for peace between the two groups in 1946, a civil war saw the demise of the KMT party. The KMT party fled to a nearby island and formed what is now Taiwan.
As you can see, Nanjing, for better or worse, has been part of several major events in history and in the forming modern China itself. For its historic attractions, its place in Chinese history, and it’s modern rebirth, it’s on my list of the top cities to visit in China.
Today, Nanjing is a modern metropolis home to over 8 million people. Nanjing is a major education center, transport hub, and tourism center.
More posts about Nanjing
Zhonghuamen Gate – South Gate, Zhonghua Lu
Nanjing Museum – 321 Zhongshan Donglu
Presidential Palace – 292 Changjiang Lu
Confucius Temple (Fuzi Temple) – Qinhuai
Memorial Hall of the Nanjing Massacre – 418 Shuiximen Street.
The Top Ten Attractions & Things to do in Nanjing
1. Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum（明孝陵）
Address: Xuanwu, Nanjing
Opening hours: 06:30 – 18:00
2. Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum（中山陵）
Address: 7 Shixiang Road, Xuanwu District, Nanjing
Opening Hours: 08:30-17:00
Recommended Visiting Time: 2 hours
3. Presidential Palace（总统府）
Recommended Visiting Time: 1-2 hours
Address: 288 Changjiang Rd, Xuanwu Qu, Nanjing
4. Qinhuai River（秦淮河) & Fuzimiao Confucius Temple
Recommended Visiting Time: 2 hours
Address: Confucius Temple Scenic Area Pedestrian St, FuZiMiao
Confucius Temple Admission:40 yuan
5. Purple Mountain (Zhongshan Mountain National Park – 紫金山）
Recommended Visiting Time: 4-5 hours
Address: Mount Zijin is located in eastern Nanjing City
Admission:Free – Admission to the Purple Mountain Observatory:15 yuan
6. Linggu Temple（灵谷寺）
Address: Zhongshan Scenic Area – Xuanwu, Nanjing
7. Nanjing Qixia Mountain（栖霞山）
Address: Qixia Mountain is located 22 kilometers (13.67 miles) northeast of Nanjing City
8. South Gate of City Wall（中华门）
Recommended Visiting Time: 1 hour
9. Xuanwu Lake（玄武湖）
Recommended Visiting Time: 3-4 hour
10. Yuejiang Tower（阅江楼）
Address: Located at the top of the Lion Mountain in the northwest of Nanjing
There are many more historic sites and places to see in Nanjing including:
Botanic Gardens – Zhiwu Yuan
Nanjing Treaty History Museum – 116 Chao Yue Lou
Ming Palace Ruins – Zhongshan Donglu
Yangzi River Bridge and Bridge Park
Martyrs Cemetery – Yuhua Lu
Zifeng Tower (one of the worlds tallest) near Gulou Metro Station
Hunan Road – shopping and food street at Shiziqiao Street
Zhenghe Memorial Park
Drum Tower – 6 Zhongyang Lu
Bell Tower – Beijing Dong Lu
Mochouchu Park and Lake – Hanzhongmen Street
The Top Ten things to Eat in Nanjing
1. Nanjing Salted Duck (金陵盐水鸭)
2. Tangbao (汤包)
3. Duck blood soup (鸭血粉丝汤)
4. Dumplings in red-bean soup (赤豆元宵)
5. Zhuang Yuan Dou (状元豆)
6. Fried Bean Curd in Chicken Soup (回卤干)
7. Rice Cake (糕团)
8. Tofu jelly (豆腐涝)
9. Hairy crab (固城大闸蟹)
10. Pan-fried beef dumpling (牛肉锅贴)
The four top food streets are Shiziqiao (狮子桥), Confucius Temple (夫子庙), Sanpailou (三牌楼) and Mingwalang (明瓦廊) where you can find a cluster of street food stalls and restaurants offering local specialties.
Map of Attractions plus the Top Ten Nanjing Hotels
Alternate picks for the top Nanjing Hotels based on guest reviews.
Transport in Nanjing
Nanjing Lukou International Airport is one of the main air hubs in the country. You can fly domestically and internationally to over 70 destinations. CN Website only: http://www.njiairport.com. The airport is located around 43 KM from the city center and there are two shuttle lines operating between the two, each cost 20 CNY per trip. A taxi from the airport will cost around 100 CNY + to the city center. You can also take the metro line S1 to South Railway Station and transfer to either line 1 or 3 depending on your final destination.
The city has two railway stations being Nanjing Railway Station and South Railway Station.
You can take metro line 1 to Nanjing station and catch the newer D and G fast trains as well as the slower K and Z trains to numerous destinations inc. Shanghai, Suzhou, Ningbo, Beijing, Chengdu, Nanning, Guangzhou, and Xian.
You can take metro line S1 (Airport Line), Line 1 or Line 3 to South Railway Station and catch D and G fast trains to numerous destinations inc Beijing, Shanghai, Suzhou, Hangzhou, Guangzhou, Wuxi, Changsha, Xian, and Xiamen.
The city has 5 dedicated tourist bus lines servicing all the major attractions as follows
Y1: Nanjing Railway Station (07:30－16:30) – Dr. Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum (08:15－17:15)
Nanjing Railway Station — Zhongyangmen — General Bus Station — Xuanwumen — Drum Tower — Jiming Temple — Sipai Building — Presidential Hall — Ruins of Ming Palaces — Zhongshanmen — Weiqiao — Meiling Palace — Nanjing Underwater World — Dr. Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum
Y2: Yuhua Tai (08:00－16:20) – Nanjing Underwater World (08:40－17:00)
Y2-1: Yuhuatai — Zhonghuamennei — Changle Lu — Sanshanjie — Confucius Temple (Fuzimiao) — Yanggongjing — Daxinggong — Presidential Hall — Jiefang Lu — Ruins of Ming Palaces — Zhongshanmen — Weiqiao — Mt.Meihua — Meiling Palace — Nanjing Underwater World
Y2-2: Yuhuatai — Zhonghuamen Chateau — Changle Lu — Confucius Temple (Fuzimiao) — Yanggongjing — Daxinggong — Presidential Hall — Jiefang Lu — Ruins of Ming Palaces — Zhongshanmen — Weiqiao — Qianhu—Shixiang Lu — Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum — Nanjing Underwater World — Dr. Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum — Shuixie — Linggu Temple
Y3: Hongshan Zoo (08:30－14:45) – Linggu Temple (09:15－16:30)
Hongshan Zoo — Huangjiayu — Nanjing Railway Station — Huamu Company — Xinzhuang — Suojin Village — Taipingmen Lu — Mt.Zijin Telpher — Liaozhongkai Tomb — Zhongshan Botanical Garden — Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum — Nanjing Underwater World — Dr. Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum — Shuixie — Linggu Temple
Y4: Nanjing Passenger Port (07:45－18:30) – Yuhuatai Cemetery (06:30－18:00)
Nanjing Passenger Port — West Railway Station — Rehe Lu — Yancangqiao — Dingshan Hotel — Dinghuaimen — Northern Station of Shicheng Lu — Southern Station of Shicheng Lu — Caochangmenqiao — Guofangyuan — Hanzhongmen — Jinling Building — Kangyi Garden — Jiangdongmen — Mochou Lake — Shuiximen — Sanshanjie — Zhanyuan Lu — Fuzimiao — Zhonghua Lu — Yuhuatai — Gongqingtuan Lu — Yuhuatai Cemetery
Y5: Suojin Village (08:30－15:30) – Mingwenhua Village (10:30－17:00)
Suojin Village — Gangzi Village — Mt.Fugui — Houzaimen — Northern Station of Qingxi Lu — Qingxi Lu — Zhongshanmen — Weiqiao — Weigang — Nanjing University of Science and Technology — Xiaolingwei — Dazhamen — Nanjing Academy of Agricultural Sciences — Wukesong — Zhongshan College — Maqun — Maqun Park — Baishuiqiao — Qixi Lu — Qilinmen West Station — Qilinmen — Jinxiu Garden — Xicun — Jinsigang — Yangshanbeicai — Mingwenhua Village
The flag fall for taxis is 2.9 CNY and 2.4-2.9 CNY per KM + 1 Fuel Fee. You will see taxis as pictured and also British style black cabs.
The metro is a very affordable way to get around being CNY2 for the first 10km (6mi), CNY3 for 10 to 16km (6 to 10mi) and increasing gradually in a similar fashion.
Nanjing Metro Map
Useful Nanjing Resources
Official Tourism Website (English version) – http://www.gonanjingchina.com
Watch this video from the English service of China’s national broadcaster. In this Travelogue episode, presenter Tianran explores the city of Nanjing in Jiangsu Province.