China Insight Series - Nanjing (南京)

The Insight Series for 2014 continues! This series focuses on the Eight Great Ancient Capitals of China as defined by the China Ancient Capital Society.

These capitals include the cities of Luoyang, Xi'an, Beijing, Kaifeng, Nanjing, Anyang, Zhengzhou and Hangzhou. Each of these cities has served as the Capital between 216 and 1,309 for various governments in China. 

Nanjing (南京)

Nanjing lies on the south bank of the Yangtze River, Nanjing, and the capital of Jiangsu Province. It is considered one of the most delightful destinations in China. Having been the capital city of 6 of 10 dynasties in ancient Chinese history, it has a brilliant cultural heritage.

Yuecheng was the first recorded military defence constructed in early 472 B.C., and opened the long history of Nanjing. In the following years, the city reached its height of splendour at various times.

In 229, one of the three heroes in the Three Kingdoms Period (220 - 280), Sun Quan, strengthen his influence in the middle valley of the Yangtze River. He moved the capital of his kingdom here and named it Jianye. From that point forward, the city served as the capital for several dynasties within 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 perched on the southern slope of Mount Zijinshan in the north-eastern part of the city.

Xiaoling Mausoleum of Ming Dynasty    The Taiping Army

Peasant groups of Taiping rebelled against the Qing Government in 1853 and established the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom in this region (Nanjing's name at the time) and formed an army. Unfortunately, the peasant regime was short-lived and in 1864, troops of Qing Government won the city back. Nowadays, in Xuyuan Garden, one can still see part of the palace of Heavenly King of Taiping Heavenly Kingdom.

The Chinese Bourgeois Democratic Revolution of 1911, led by Dr.Sun Yat-Sen, overthrew the Qing Dynasty. On the first day of 1912, Dr. Sun Yet-Sen gave his simple, but sublime, address on the inauguration held for 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.

Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum    Nanjing Massacre Memorial

On April 18th 1927, Chiang Kaishek launched the counter-revolutionary 4.12 Coup and established his power in the city. In 1937, the inhumane Nanjing Massacre happened. Within 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.

In addition to historical sights, memorials, museums and cultural sights, the famous Confucius Temple (Fuzimiao) is not only a memorial place for the Great Sage, but has a surrounding area bustling with shops, restaurants and a snack street housed in traditional architectural buildings. In the city centre, Nanjing Museum is a must for visitors with a collection of more than 420 thousand pieces, including about 2,000 that are rare and valued. The Zijinshan Observatory (Purple Mountain Observatory) to the east of the city centre was the first modern observatory built in China.

The Confucius Temple      Qinghuai River

In the southwest of the city, Qinhuai River extends 100kms. In the old days, the river used to be the most flourishing part of the city. In many Chinese novels, it is renowned as a place which nurtured beauties and romance. Today, it is a place for people to recall the old splendour of this historical city. Like all sights here, it tells the story of past, present and future of the city.

Like most major cities in the country, Nanjing is developing rapidly. Modern highways and railways connect the city with most major cities throughout the country, and it's becoming a sparkling metropolis akin to Shanghai and Beijing with skyscrapers, luxury hotels, fashion shopping malls, supermarkets and highly-developed economic zones throughout the city. Transport within the city is very convenient with the new metro service in addition to taxis, public buses, tourist special lines and other means of transport. Modern amenities in luxury hotels make your stay a comfortable one. Dazzling shopping malls and department stores can be found in the commercial areas of the city with stocked plenty of international brand names. The city is also home to several colleges and universities and a large foreign population. The city is become an international metropolis with new faces every day.

Confucian Saying Of The Month

三人行必有我师焉,

择其善者而从之,其不善者而改之

sān rénxíng bì yǒu wǒ shī yān,

zé qí shàn zhě ér cóng zhī, qí bùshàn zhě ér gǎi zhī

When several men are walking together, I am sure there is one I can learn from. I'd select his merits to follow, and his demerits for reference to correct my own.

Chinese Character Of The Month

善 

shàn 

good, kind, be good at

This Chinese character is an associative compound. It is made up of two elements: the top part (羊) refers to the animal goat symbolizing good luck in Chinese culture; the rest part, which is an associative deformation of "言", means word, speech. The character can be used as adjective and verb. As an adjective it means good, kind, virtuous, and satisfactory. As a verb, it means "be good at" and "be apt to".

善良 shànliáng – honest and kind-hearted
友善 yǒushàn - friendly
完善 wánshàn-perfect, complete
慈善 císhàn – charity, charitable
善于 shànyú – be good at

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