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Nanjing Overview

Nanjing City

Overview
Nanjing city, located in Yangtze River Delta area and the center of east China, served as the capital city of Jiangsu province of China and the second largest city in the east China region with an area of 6,600 square kilometers. It has long been a major centre of culture, education, research, politics, economy, transport networks and tourism.

It has a prominent place in Chinese history and culture, having served as the capital of various Chinese dynasties, kingdoms and republican governments dating from the 3rd century CE to 1949.   

Nanjing has a prominent place in Chinese history and culture, which ia one of most important cities for over 1 thousand years, is recognized as one of the Four Ancient Capitals of China.  It has been one of the world's largest cities, enjoying peace and prosperity despite wars and disasters, having served as the capital of Eastern Wu (211-280), the Eastern Jin and each of the Southern Dynasties (Liu Song, Southern Qi, Liang and Chen), the Southern Tang and Ming dynasty and the Republic of China prior to its flight to Taiwan during the Chinese Civil War. Within the long history in Nanjing city, it boasts many important heritage sites, including the Presidential Palace and Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum. Nanjing is famous for human historical landscapes, mountains and waters such as Fuzimiao, Ming Palace, Chaotian Palace, Porcelain Tower, Drum Tower, Stone City, City Wall, Qinhuai River, Xuanwu Lake and Purple Mountain. Key cultural facilities include Nanjing Library, Nanjing Museum and Art Museum. 

Climate

Nanjing’s four seasons are clearly distinguishable. The hot summer months are from July to September. Winter lasts from December until March. Spring and autumn are both mild and pleasant. January and July mean temperatures are about 37 °F (3 °C) and 82 °F (28 °C), respectively. The average annual rainfall is about 40 inches (1,000 mm), the bulk of it falling between June and August.

Population

Nanjing, with a population of around 6.5 millions and a total area of 6,509 square kilometers, is 300 km from Shanghai and 1,200 km from Beijing. The predominant ethnic component is Han nationality occupying 98% of total population, with fifty other minority nationalities.

Nanjing Culture

Being one of the four ancient capitals of China, Nanjing has always been a cultural center in any sense of art, tradition, festival, tourism, etc, which attract intellectuals from all over the country.

1. Nanjing Baiju Tune (南京白局)
    Baiju is a prevalent storytelling and ballad singing folk tune in Nanjing, which is revolved from songs sung by   workers when producing cloud brocade. With a history of 600 years, Baiju is the only old folk tune in Nanjing. The actor of performing Nanjing Baiju is generally one or two persons, with a maximum of 5 persons. All the dialogue in Baiju is spoken in Nanjing dialect, easy to understand but full of humor. It is a distinctive singing art brimming with Nanjing local flavor.

Three traditional products are the most valuable products needed to mention for Nanjing:

1.    Nanjing Cloudy-patterned Brocade,

You can visit Nanjing Silk Brocade Museum. This is the first museum in China dedicated to the art of silk brocade weaving. “Yunjin” is a type of richly decorative shuttle-woven fabric, often made from coloured silks with gold and silver threads. Its elegant and colourful design is reminiscent of clouds in the sky, hence the name "Yunjin" (cloud or ‘yun’ brocade.) The Yun Brocade of Nanjing has an important place in traditional Chinese culture, with a long history of about 1500 years.

2.    Nanjing Yuhuashi Pebble

3.    Nanjing Wooden Carving.

Below are some popular Suzhou festivals:

1.    International Plum Blossom Festival: This festival first started in 1994, held every year from February to March, in Plum Hill.

2.    Linggu Temple Sweet Osmanthus Festival. This festival first started in 1999, held every year in September, in Linggu Temple, Zhongshan Scenic Region.

3.    Jiangxinzhou Grape Festival. This festival first started in 2001, held from the last ten days of July to the end of August, in Jiangxinshou Ecological Agriculture-tourist Zone, Jianyi District.

4.    Yuhuashi Pebble Art Festival. This festival started its first event in 1999, held every year in September, in Yuhuatai District. 

Main attractions in Nanjing

1.   Dr. Sun Yat-sen's Mausoleum

          Dr. Sun Yat-sen's Mausoleum is situated at the foot of the second peak of Mount Zijin (Purple Mountain), Zhongshan Scenic Area in Nanjing, China. Dr. Sun is the father of the Republic of China who was born in           Guangdong province. This mausoleum is a site of deep historical significance, magnificent architecture and         beautiful scenery. The lush scenic is a tribute to the noble spirit and heroic efforts of Dr. Sun Yat-sen's             devotion to the Chinese people and their fight for independence. Visitors can view the memorial archway, mausoleum gate, tomb stone pavilion and memorial hall. The coffin chamber is not accessible to visitors.

Location: Xuanwu

Opening Hours: Tuesday–Sunday, 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.; Closed Monday

Admission: Free (Mausoleum, including Fraternity Square, the Mausoleum Passage, the Stele Pavilion, the Sacrificial Hall and the Burial Room)

2.   Presidential Palace of Nanjing

         The Presidential Palace was housed the Office of the President of the Republic of China since 1927 until the republic was relocated to Taiwan in 1949. It is now a museum called the China Modern History Museum. Presidential Palace is an important historical landmark in Nanjing and one of the largest surviving complex of modern Chinese (1840-1949) buildings. It mainly consists of the central axis, the west garden and the east garden.

Location: No.292 East Changjiang Road, Baixia District, Nanjing

Admission: CNY 40

Opening Hours: 7:00-18:00(Apr.1-Oct.31); 7:30-17:30(Nov.1-Mar.31)

Tel: +86-25-84578718

How to get there: Take Bus No. 29304446595 or Tourists Bus Line 1 and 2, and then gets off at Presidential Palace of Nanjing Station

3.   Nanjing City Wall (Ming City Wall)

The City Wall of Nanjing was designed by Zhuyuanzhang who was first emperor in the Ming Dynasty and Nanjing was served as capital during that period. In order to consolidate his sovereignty and keep out invaders, he adopted the suggestions of advisor Zhu Sheng to build a higher city wall, to collect grains and to postpone the coronation. Then, he started to build the city wall. This Nanjing City Wall was the largest city walls in China and has the length of 23.7km.

Location: NO.8, Jiefang Gate, Huaihu Road, Xuanwu District, Nanjing

Admission Fee: CNY 18

How to get there: Take Bus No.4

4.   Confucius Temple (Fuzimiao)—Qinhuai River

    With quaint riverboats, footbridges and historic Chinese architecture flanking its banks, the Qinhuai River is one of Nanjing’s top attractions. Known as the “Mother River,” the Qinhuai has been the birthplace of Nanjing culture since the city’s beginnings. In A.D. 1034, during the reign of the Song dynasty, Confucius Temple was first built along the river; it was later destroyed during World War II, but the temple was reconstructed and expanded by the Chinese government in 1984. Today, the Qinhuai Scenic Area is home to many shops, restaurants, gardens and historic sites, including the Jiangnan Imperial Examination Hall and Dacheng Hall, which houses China’s largest statue of Confucius plus a precious collection of jade, goldand silver panels detailing the philosopher’s life. Sightseeing boats line the river, and visitors can take a leisurely cruise set to the distant strains of guqin, a traditional Chinese stringed instrument of the zither family.

Location: Gongyuan Street, Qinhuai

Admission Fee: Confucius Temple grounds: CNY 40,
                       Qinhuai riverboat ride: CNY 55 during the daytime

                                 CNY 80-Evening           (It takes 50 minutes)
Opening Hours: Dacheng Hall, 8 a.m.–9:30 p.m
                        
Imperial Examination Hall, 8:30 a.m.–10 p.m daily


5.   Xiaoling Tomb of Ming Dynasty

This is the tomb of the Emperor Hongwu (Zhuyuanzhang), who was the founder of the Ming dynasty. It located at the east of the historical centre of Nanjing. The construction of the mausoleum began during the Hongwu Emperor's life in 1381 and ended in 1405, during the reign of his son the Yongle Emperor, with a huge expenditure of resources involving 100,000 labourers. The original wall of the mausoleum was more than 22.5 kilometres long.

Location: Wengzhong Road, Xuanwu District, Nanjing

Admission: CNY 70

Opening Hours: 7:00-18:00

Tel: +86-25-84446111

How to get there:

Bus route:  Take Bus No.2, 3, Tourist Line 2

Metro: Take Line 1 and get off Xiama stop

6.   Xuanwu Lake Park

Only steps away from bustling downtown Nanjing, Xuanwu Lake provides a peaceful urban escape mixed with rich imperial history. With weeping willow trees, paddleboats and arch footbridges spanning across five islands, the lake offers hours of exploration. A stunning array of flowers shade this scenic area a different color every season: Candy-pink cherry blossoms in spring, emerald lotus in summer, golden ginkgos and fiery maples in autumn and snowy white pines in winter. At 1,100 rambling acres, Xuanwu Lake was once the largest imperial lake garden in China. Surrounding the park are historic sites like the City Wall of Nanjing, contrasted with soaring skyscrapers peeking above the trees.

Location: Xuanwu District; Xuanwu Gate is the closest entrance to the park

Opening Hours: 6 a.m.–8 p.m.

Admission Fee: Free (If you want to take a sightseeing bus to go around the lake, the fee is CNY 30)

7.   The Memorial of the Nanjing Massacre

The Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall or formally, The Memorial Hall of the Victims in Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders is a hall to memorialize those that were killed in the Nanjing Massacre by the Imperial Japanese Army in and around the then capital of China, Nanjing, after it fell on December 13, 1937. It is located in the southwestern corner of Nanjing known as Jiangdongmen, near a site where thousands of bodies were buried, called a "pit of ten thousand corpses".

Location: No.418 Shuiximen Road, Jianye District, Nanjing Admission: Free

Opening Hours: 8:30-16:30 (closed on Monday)

How to get there: Take Bus No. 37 and No. 78

Nanjing Food & Snacks

1.   Nanjing Salted Duck

Nanjing is a city with duck fever -- from marinated to roasted, from duck meat to duck blood. As the local saying goes, "Without duck, it's not a proper meal."

Salted duck is a cold dish usually served as an appetizer or as a snack to accompany alcohol. Plum Garden's salted duck is marinated in a special brine that keeps the meat tender and imbues it with a slightly salty flavor.
Recommendation:
Jinling Hotel Plum Garden, 2nd Floor Jinling Hotel, No. 2 Hanzhong Road, Xinjiekou Square, Nanjing
Tel: +86 25 8471 1888
 

2.   Duck Blood Soup

The Duck Blood Soup is one of the most popular food in Nanjing City. The name of this dish may sound odd to foreigners who might wonder how the blood and soup is combined. Actually Chinese people do eat the blood of duck, goose and chicken but in a unique way. They collect the blood of a freshly killed duck or goose and stir, then seal and refrigerate until ready to use. The result is blood cakes. The soup is seasoned with salt, pepper, and subtly spicy undertones. Simmer gently for several minutes and serve with eggs, noodles and caraway. This food is the top of all travelers' recommendations. You must try it!

Recommendation:
Yadebao
Add: 11-12 Chaozhi Xiang, Baixia District
Tel: +86 25 8452 4820

3.   Pan-fried beef dumplings

With its crispy wrapper, flavorful beef and onion filling and steaming soup, it's no wonder niu rou guo tie (pan-fried beef dumplings) are the pride of Nanjing.

Pan-fried beef dumplings are considered one of Nanjing's eight traditional Qinhuai treasures, as designated by government-sanctioned experts in 1987. The original dumpling named as a Qinhuai treasure comes from Jiang You Ji restaurant, which can still be found in an alley in Nanjing's Confucius Temple area.

Recommendations:

1)   Liji Halal Restaurant is another popular local choice for the dumplings. For the complete experience, pan-fried beef dumplings should be accompanied by beef soup, or niu rou tang.

2)   Jiang You Ji

Add: 313 Qin Hong Lu, Qin Huai District;

Tel: +86 25 5262 2265

3)   LiJi QingZhenGuan

Address: Ping Shi Street Da Ding Alley 1, Nanjing China;

Tel: +86 25 5225 7736

4.    Jinling roast duck

There's a never-ending debate about where roast duck was invented -- it's called Peking duck in Beijing and Jinling duck in Nanjing.

According to one legend, Ming Dynasty emperor Zhu Di brought his favorite roasted-duck chefs with him from his Nanjing palace when he moved the capital to Beijing.

Though less celebrated internationally, Jinling duck is hardly inferior to its northern counterpart. Crisp and greasy duck skin with juicy and tender flesh is the standard formula of this satisfying dish.

Recommendations:
      Chen Lin
      Add: 5-1 Diao Yu Tai (Near Zhonghua Gate)

5.   Tangbao Soup Dumpling

Who needs fries or chips when you can snack on these marvelous soup dumplings for a dollar or two?

The sight of chicken broth and pork wobbling inside a paper-thin wrapper -- assuming a chopstick hasn't accidentally pierced the tender skin -- is sheer heaven for many locals.

The most famous place for the dish is Yinshi Jishi Tangbao restaurant, though the flavor can be too sweet for some.

Recommendation:
      Liu Changxing
      Add: 506 Zhongshan Dong Lu, Baixia District
      Tel: +86 25 8441 1031

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