The Presidential Palace could be thought of as Nanjing’s version of the Forbidden City in Beijing with it once being home to ancient emperors and later political leaders. The palace was also the base for Dr. Sat Yun Sen when he led the Kuomintang party to power in China.
Officially, it is now called the China Modern History Museum yet its history dates back to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) when it functioned as a royal palace. It was taken over during the Taiping Rebellion and for ten or more years it served as a base for that revolutions leaders until the Qing government reclaimed Nanjing in 1864. It was also the KMT’s (Kuomintang) headquarters from 1927 to 1949 from which it ruled the country until Mao Zedong and the CCP took over control and declared Beijing as the capital once again.
All of that is a very long story, but one can understand, this place has a played a very special part in what were defining periods in China’s history.
Inside of the walls, you can still find the imperial palaces and gardens built many years ago and also buildings added in the 1930’s that housed the revolutionary government.
Inside the rooms of the several original buildings are interesting displays, such as the emperor’s throne, moving into the newer buildings the many rooms are filled with displays of artifacts, photos and storyboards of the then revolutionary government that led China from 1911 to 1949.
There’s also the former home of Dr. Sat Yun Sen to wander through, and the many nooks and crannies of the garden shouldn’t be missed as it’s hard to beat a garden built that was originally built for an emperor. Especially a garden that features a mini-lake with a boat made of stone.
Alongside the Presidential Palace is whats known as 1912 (南京1912街区), a cluster of charming old buildings now packed with bars and eateries (Chinese/Western). You can find a Starbucks and Costa Coffee here, several bars and night spots, hot pot restaurant, Pizza Hut, KFC.
Across the street is the Nanjing Library (南京图书馆) which is actually at exit 5 of the subway station so take a peek before you head over to the palace, and a few minutes walk away is the Jiangsu Art Museum (江苏省美术馆), across from which is the Six Dynasties Museum (六朝博物馆).
There are a LOT of hotels in this area, unfortunately, most won’t accept foreign guests. My three picks for places near here are Crowne Plaza Nanjing Hotels & Suites, The Grand Mansion, and the Jinling Hotel.
Admission: 40 RMB
Open Hours: Mar-Oct 8.30 am to 6.00 pm Nov-Feb 8.30 am to 5.00 pm
Getting there: You can take metro line 2 or line 3 and get off at Daxinggong Station and take exit 5.
Chinese Name for taxi: 中国近代史遗址博物馆 – 总统府 (China Modern History Museum – Presidential Palace)
Address: 292 Changjiang Rd, Xuanwu, Nanjing
Official website: http://www.njztf.cn/en/
Map featuring Hotels near the Presidential Palace
Presidential Palace map
there is a large map board at the site, as pictured below, which will ensure you catch all the key sites in the palace. Click for larger image.