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Nanjing Purple Mountain

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Purple Mountain, Nanjing Attraction

Brief Introduction

Purple Mountain or Zijin Shan is located on the eastern side of Nanjing in Jiangsu province, China. It is 448.2 m high, with the lowest point 30 m (98 ft). Its peaks are often found enveloped in mysterious purple and golden clouds at dawn and dusk, hence its name. It is known as the lung of Nanjing, and for good reason: The massive, forested park area boasts fresh and cool air.

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The well-known Purple Mountain Observatory, also known as Zijinshan Astronomical Observatory, is one of the most well-know institutes. A small mountain with an area about 20 square kilometres (4,900 acres), Purple Mountain is a mountain related to many historical events of both ancient and modern China. It was originally known as Bell Mountain and also became known as Mount Jiang after Sun Quan named Jiang Ziwen, an Eastern Han official whose spirit was said to haunt the site, as the mountain's god during the Three Kingdoms era. The name Zijin means "copper" - when copper is pure, it appears purple in colour, so in Chinese it's also called purple-gold. It is also named Mount Jinling, due to its purple rocks. Jinling means "the mount of purple-gold". It is the origin of the nickname "Jinling" of Nanjing. During the Ming dynasty, it was also called Mount Shenlie.

What to see in Nanjing Purple Mountain

There are more than 200 heritage and scenic tourist sites are now located in or around Nanjing Purple Mountain, including three national historical sites, nine provincial historical sites, and 33 prefectural historical sites. Located in or close to the hillside of the mountain, there are also about a dozen national research institutes and universities.

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Purple Mountain Observatory
Located at the top of the western slop of Nanjing Purple Mountain. Purple Mountain Observatory has astronomical instruments dating back to the Ming Dynasty. Purple Mountain Observatory is a cluster of domed telescopes and modern research facilities that also houses a fine collection of ancient astronomical instruments. The mordern observatory began operating in 1934, which marked the beginging of mordern astronomical research in China, and is still involved in scientific research today. For most, a visit to the observatory will complement a hike or ride up pr down Purple Mountain. Once you have arrived, it only takes about 30-45 minutes to observe the instruments and enjoy the view from the observatory. 

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Botanical Garden
South of the observatory is the Botanical Garden, a beautiful space containing more than three thousand species of medicinal and decorative plants, and a fine statue of Li Shizhen, the father of Chinese botany and traditional medicine. Farther east, on one side of the central ridge is the Xiaoling tomb of the first Ming emperor, with its Sacred Avenue, its pavilions and courtyards, and the immense, as-yet unexcavated burial mound where the emperor's body is believed to lie. Still farther east, at the center of the mountain stands what has become a site of pilgrimage for many local and overseas Chinese: the Sun Yat-Sen Mausoleum. A vast stone stairway leads up to his crypt and his coffin.

As the high ground closest to the city, Purple Mountain has served alternately in the strategic interests of those who wished to defend the city, and of those who wished to attack it. A burial site here has long been the highest honor the city has to offer to those whose personal history has intersected with its own.

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Plum Blossom Hill
Walking south from the mausoleum in  Purple Mountain, you will find the Plum Blossom Hill. In Nanjing, planting plum trees can date back to the Six Dynasties (222- 589). Because of the long history and abundance of plum blossom trees, the Plum Blossom Hill is famous as the "No. 1 Plum Blossom Hill under Heaven". First built in 1929, the plum blossom garden has more than 13,000 plum blossom trees of more than 400 species, covering a total area of more than 102 hectares (252 acres). The garden is one of the four plum blossom gardens in China, along with the Dianshanhu Plum Blossom Garden in Shanghai, the Plum Blossom Garden in Wuxi of Jiangsu Province, and the Moshan Plum Blossom Garden by the East Lake in Wuhan. The delicate fragrant flowers are usually in full blossom from late February to mid March. Owing to its beautiful scenery and rich cultural content, the Plum Blossom Hill attracts a great number of tourists both home and abroad.

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Meiling Palace
Built in 1931, the Meiling Palace or May-ling Villa is located to the west of the Parking Lot of Dr. Sun Yat-sen's Mausoleum. Seen from above, the Mausoleum Road looks like a necklace, and the villa is just like a delicate emerald on it.

The roof is decorated with green glazed tiles and carved with more than 1,000 phoenixes. The yellow walls, red pillars, and beautiful paintings under the eave look very spectacular. In front of the building is a Buick car which was presented to Soong May-ling by the American government.

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Dr. Sun Yat Sen Mausoleum
The mausoleum of Dr. Sun Yat-sen (1866-1925), the father of the Republic of China, is a site of deep historical significance, magnificent architecture and beautiful scenery located at the Zhongshan Scenic Area in Purple Mountain. Covering nearly 20 acres, 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, tombstone pavilion and memorial hall. The coffin chamber is not accessible to visitors.

Travel Guide

Admission Fee: Free
Recommend Time for Vist: 4-5 hrs
Best season for travel: Spring & Autumn
Openning Hours: 24 Hours

How to get to Nanjing Purple Mountain

Bus route: take bus No.6, 11, 68, 69, 188 and 313 and get off Zhongshanling stop, then you can reach to Purple Mountain

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