Lies on the south bank of the Yangtze River, Nanjing, the capital of Jiangsu Province, is one of the most delightful destinations in China. Known as the capital city of six or ten dynasties in ancient Chinese history, it has a brilliant cultural heritage.
Yuecheng, the first recorded military defense constructed in early 472 B.C., opened the long history of Nanjing. In the following years, the city reached its height of splendor at various times. In 229, Sun Quan, one of the three heroes in Three Kingdoms Period (220 - 280), to strengthen his influence in the middle valley of the Yangtze River, moved the capital of his kingdom here and named it Jianye. From that time on, the city served as the capital for several dynasties in history. In 1356, in a peasant rebellion, Zhu Yuanzhang, later the Emperor Taizu of the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644), conquered the city and renamed it Yingtian Fu. In 1368, Zhu established the Ming Dynasty - the last feudal dynasty ruled by the native Han people - and gave Yingtian Fu the new name of Nanjing. Ten years later, the emperor made it the capital of the country. The mausoleum of Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang is perching on the southern slope of the Mount Zijinshan in the northeastern part of the city.
|Xiaoling Mausoleum of Ming Dynasty|
Following officials' advice of "building walls and producing grain to consolidate the rule", the emperor ordered the construction of city walls. Today's majestic walls in the city, the longest of its kind in the world, are the result of that phase of construction. Zhonghua Gate, simply meaning 'Chinese Gate', is a noted attraction for visitors in the present city center.
In spite of its glorious times, the city also witnessed the hardest moment of this nation. In 1839, the Opium War burst out after Lin Zexu, an assiduous official, burnt twenty thousand boxes of opium in Humen. On a battleship in Nanjing's Xiaguan, the corrupt Qing government, under threat by Britain troops, signed the notorious Nanjing Treaty, the first of the 'Unequal Treaties' which ceded Hong Kong away from China for more than hundred years. Following this treaty, invasions and colonial rule of the western countries intensified and China sank into a harder and darker time.
Peasant groups of Taiping rebelled against the Qing government in 1853 and established the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom in this region, Nanjing's name at that time, and formed an army. Unfortunately, the peasant regime was short-lived and in 1864, troops of Qing government won the city back. Nowadays, inXuyuan Garden , one can still see part of the palace of Heavenly King of Taiping Heavenly Kingdom.
It was the Revolution of 1911, the Chinese bourgeois democratic revolution led by Dr.Sun Yat-Sen that overthrew the Qing Dynasty. On the first day of 1912, Dr. Sun Yet-sen gave his simple but sublime address on the inauguration held of the new Republic of China. Today, a memorial hall in the Mausoleum of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen, houses a statue of Dr. Sun sculpted out of white marble.
On April 18th, 1927, Chiang Kaishek launched the counter-revolutionary 4.12 Coup and established his power in the city. Also, in 1937, the inhuman Nanjing Massacre happened. In six weeks, more than 300,000 Chinese people were killed including women and children.No atrocity can go unpunished. In 1945 the Chinese people eventually drove the barbarous Japanese army out of China and the war criminals got what they deserved. However the atrocity left a deep scar on the city. Pictures of Japanese soldiers taken by Japanese photographers are exhibited in the Memorial Hall to the Victims in the Nanjing Massacre.
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