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Nanjing is also known as Nanking. The city's name from the Tang Dynasty until the Qing Dynasty was Jinling, abbreviated in Chinese as Ning, is the capital of China's Jiangsu Province, and a city with a prominent place in Chinese history and culture. Nanjing (literally: 'Southern capital') served as the capital of China during several historical periods and is listed as one of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China. Nanjing was the capital of the Republic of China before the Chinese Civil War in 1949. Nanjing is also one of the fifteen sub-provincial cities in the People's Republic of China's administrative structure, enjoying jurisdictional and economic autonomy only slightly less than that of a province.

Located in the lower Yangtze River drainage basin and Yangtze River Delta economic zone, Nanjing has always been one of China's most important cities. Apart from having been the capital of China for six dynasties and of the Republic of China, Nanjing has also served as a national hub of education, research, transportation and tourism throughout history. With an urban population of over five million, it is also the second largest commercial center in the East China region, after Shanghai.

It has been ranked fourth by Forbes magazine in its listing of "2008 Top 100 Business Cities in Mainland China", seventh in the evaluation of "Cities with Strongest Comprehensive Strength" issued by the National Statistics Bureau, and second in the evaluation of cities with most sustainable development potential in the Yangtze River Delta. It has also been awarded the title of 2008 Habitat Scroll of Honor of China, Special Award of UN Habitat Scroll of Honor and National Civilized City

Geography and Climate
Nanjing Area - Lower Yangtze Valley and Eastern ChinaNanjing, with a total land area of 6,598 square kilometers (2,547.5 sq mi), is situated in one of the largest economic zones of China, the Yangtze River Delta, which is part of the downstream Yangtze River drainage basin. The Yangtze River flows past the west side of Nanjing City, while the Ningzheng Ridge surrounds the north, east and south side of the city. The city is 300 kilometers (186 mi) west of Shanghai, 1,200 kilometers (746 mi) south of Beijing, and 1,400 kilometers (870 mi) east of Chongqing. Nanjing has a humid subtropical climate and is under the influence of the East Asia Monsoon. Seasons are distinct in Nanjing, with usually hot summers and plenty of rainfall throughout the year. Along with Wuhan and Chongqing, Nanjing is often referred to as one of the "Three Furnacelike Cities" along the Yangtze River for the perennially high temperatures in the summertime. The average temperature during the year is 16 °C (61 °F). The average high temperature in January is 7 °C (45 °F) while the average low is -1 °C (30.2 °F); the average high in July is 32 °C (90 °F) with an average low of 25 °C (77 °F). The highest recorded temperature is 40.7 °C (105 °F) (Aug 22, 1959), and the lowest -14 °C (7 °F) (Jan 6, 1955). On average it rains 117 days out of the year, and the average annual rainfall is 1,106.5 millimetres (43.6 in). The time from mid-June to the end of July is the plum blossom Meiyu season, during which the city experiences a period of mild rain as well as dampness.

Nanjing was one of the earliest established cities in the southern China area. According to the legend, Fu Chai, the Lord of the State of Wu, founded the first city, Yecheng in today's Nanjing area in 495 BCE. Later in 473 BCE, The State of Yue conquered Wu and constructed the city of Yuecheng on the outskirts of the present-day Zhonghua Gate. In 333 BCE, after eliminating the State of Yue, the State of Chu built Jinling Yi in the northwestern part of present-day Nanjing. Since then, the city has experienced numerous destructions and reconstructions.

The City Wall of Nanjing, the world's longest, built in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644)Nanjing first became a capital in 229 CE, where Sun Quan of the Wu Kingdom during the Three Kingdoms Period relocated its capital to Jianye, a city he extended on the basis of Jinling Yi in 211 CE. After the invasion of the Five Hu, the nobles and wealthy families of the Jin Dynasty escaped across the Yangtze River and established Nanjing as the capital, which was then called Jiankang. Thereafter, Jiankang remained as the capital of Southern China during the North-South Division period, until Sui Dynasty reunified China and destroyed almost the entire city, turning it into a small town.

The city was reconstructed during the late Tang Dynasty. It was again named capital (then known as Jinling during the short-lived Southern Tang Kingdom (937- 975) (who renamed it Xidu), who succeeded the Wu Kingdom. Jiankang's textile industry burgeoned and thrived during Song Dynasty despite the constant threat from the northern foreign invasions. The Mongolians, the occupiers of China, further consolidated the city's status as a hub of the textile industry under the Yuan Dynasty.

The Ming Capital
The first emperor of the Ming Dynasty Zhu Yuanzhang (the Hongwu Emperor) who overthrew the Yuan Dynasty rebuilt this city and made it the capital of China in 1368. He constructed what was the longest city wall in the world at that time. It took 200,000 laborers 21 years to finish the project. The present-day city wall of Nanjing was mainly built during that time, and it is the longest surviving city wall in the world.
Nanjing remained the capital of the Ming Empire until 1421, when the third emperor of the dynasty, Zhu Di, relocated the capital to Beijing. It is believed that Nanjing was the largest city in the world from 1358 to 1425 with a population of 487,000 in 1400.

Besides the city wall, other famous Ming-era structures in the city included the Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum (still one of the most famous sites of the region) and the Porcelain Tower (destroyed by the Taipings in the 19th century).

As the center of the empire, early-Ming Nanjing had worldwide connections: it was home of admiral Zheng He, who went to sail the Pacific and Indian Oceans, and it was visited by foreign dignitaries, such as the sultan of Brunei Abdul Majid Hassan, who died during his visit to China in 1408. The sultan's grave, with a suitably royal bixi stone tortoise monument, was discovered in Yuhuatai District south of the city in 1958.

The Qing period
Two and a half centuries after the removal of the capital to Beijing, Nanjing was destined to become the capital of a Ming emperor one more time. After the fall of Beijing to the Li Zicheng's rebels and then to Manchu Qing invaders, and the suicide of the last "real" Ming emperor Zhu Youjian (the Chongzhen Emperor) in the spring 1644, the Ming prince Zhu Yousong was enthroned in Nanjing in June 1644 as the Hongguang Emperor. His short reign was described by later historians as the first reign of the so-called Southern Ming Dynasty. Zhu Yousong, however, fared a lot worse than his ancestor Zhu Yuanzhang three centuries earlier. Beset by factional conflicts, his regime could not offer effective resistance to Manchu troops, when the Manchu army, led by Prince Dodo approached Jiangnan the next spring. Days after Yangzhou fell to the Manchus in late May 1645, the Hongguang Emperor fled Nanjing, and the imperial palace was looted by local residents. On June 6, Dodo's troops approached Nanjing, and the commander of the city's garrison, Zhao the Earl of Xincheng, promptly surrendered the city to them. The Manchus soon ordered all male residents of the city to shave their heads in the Manchu way, requisitioned a large section of the city for the bannermen's cantonment, and destroyed the former imperial palace, but otherwise the city was spared the mass murders and destruction that befell Yangzhou.

A bixi-based stele commemorating the Kangxi Emperor's visit to Nanjing in 1684, in the city's Drum TowerDuring the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), the Nanjing area was known as Jiangning and served as the seat of government for the Liangjiang Viceroy. It had been visited by the Kangxi and Qianlong Emperors a number of times on their tours of the southern provinces.

Nanjing was invaded by the British troops during the First Opium War, which was ended by the Treaty of Nanking in 1842. Nanjing was the capital of the Taiping Kingdom  in the mid-19th century, being renamed as Tianjing (lit. Heaven's Capital).

Both the Qing Viceroy and the Taiping king resided in buildings that would later be known as the Presidential Palace. As Qing general Zeng Guofan retook the city in 1864, massive slaughtering occurred in the city with over 100,000 committing suicide or fighting to the death.

After 1911
The President House of the Republic of China, when Nanjing was its capitalThe Xinhai Revolution led to the founding of the Republic of China in January 1912 with Dr. Sun Yat-sen as the first provisional president, and Nanjing was selected as its new capital. However, the Qing Dynasty still controlled the northern provinces, so revolutionaries asked Yuan Shikai to replace Sun as president in exchange for the emperor's abdication. Yuan demanded the capital be at Beijing (closer to his power base).

In 1927, the Kuomintang (KMT) under Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek again established Nanjing as the capital of the Republic of China, and this became internationally recognized once KMT forces took Beijing in 1928. The following decade is known as the Nanjing decade, as they used the Presidential Palace in Nanjing as their headquarters.

World War II
Nanjing Massacre Memorial HallSee also: Nanking Massacre and Unit 1855
In 1937, the Japanese army invaded and occupied Nanjing, the capital city of Republic of China, and carried out the systematic and brutal Nanking massacre. The total death toll could not be confirmed, since no official records were kept. Though often contested, most estimates, including those made by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East and the Nanjing War Crimes Tribunal, put the number of dead between 200,000 and 350,000. The Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall was built in 1985 to commemorate this event.

After the conquest of the city, the Imperial Japanese Army established the bacteriological research Unit 1644, a section of Unit 731, where Japanese doctors experimented on humans.

Many of the atrocities of the massacre were documented in the diaries of John Rabe, a German businessman who created a "Safety Zone", an area whose borders were Sikang Street to the west, Hanchung Men Gate to the south and ironically the Japanese Embassy to the east. Rabe's own house, the German & US Embassies and Nanjing University were all encompassed within the Safety Zone. Many took refuge within his walls, Rabe in many instances exploiting Germany's alliance with Japan to stop Japanese soldiers from entering the compound to rape and slaughter the many women and children inside.

A Japanese-collaborationist government known as the "Nanjing Regime" or "Nanjing Nationalist Government" led by Wang Jingwei was established in Nanjing as a rival to Chiang Kai-Shek's government in Chongqing. After the Surrender of Japan, the KMT relocated its central government back to Nanjing.

After 1949
On April 23, 1949, The People's Liberation Army conquered Nanjing. After the establishment of the People's Republic of China, Nanjing was initially a province-level municipality, but very soon became, and today remains, the provincial capital of Jiangsu.

Until 2002, the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of China, as well as textbooks published in Taiwan, referred to Nanjing as the official capital of the Republic of China, while Taipei is just its provisional capital.

It had long been rumored that Nanjing might be split from Jiangsu Province in future years and become its own municipality, but the rumour was never officially confirmed.

Culture and Art
Being one of the four ancient capitals of China, Nanjing has always been a cultural center attracting intellectuals from all over the country. In the Tang and Song dynasties, Nanjing was a place where poets gathered and composed poems reminiscent of its luxurious past; during the Ming and Qing Dynasties, the city was the official imperial examination center for the Jiangnan region, again acting as a hub where different thoughts and opinions converged and thrived.

Today, with a long cultural tradition and strong support from local educational institutions, Nanjing is commonly viewed as a "city of culture" and one of the more pleasant cities to live in China.

Some of the leading art groups of China are based in Nanjing; they include: Qianxian Dance Company, Nanjing Dance Company, Jiangsu Peking Opera Institute, Nanjing Xiaohonghua Art Company are just a few to list.

Jiangsu Province Kun Opera is one of the best theatres for Kunqu, China's oldest stage art. It is considered a conservative and traditional troupe. Nanjing also has professional opera troupes for the Yang, Yue (shaoxing), Xi and Jing (Chinese opera varieties) as well as Suzhou pingtan, spoken theatre, and puppet theatre.

Jiangsu Art Gallery is the largest gallery in Jiangsu Province, presenting some of the best traditional and contemporary art pieces of China; many other smaller-scale galleries, such as Red Chamber Art Garden and Jinling Stone Gallery, also have their own special exhibitions.

Remnants of the Ming Dynasty City Wall in NanjingMany traditional festivals and customs were observed in the old times, which included climbing the City Wall on January 16, bathing in Qing Xi on March 3, hill hiking on September 9 and others (the dates are in Chinese lunar calendar). Almost none of them, however, are still celebrated by modern Nanjingese.

Instead, Nanjing, as a popular tourist destination, hosts a series of government-organised events throughout the year. The annual International Plum Blossom Festival held in Plum Hill, the largest plum collection in China, attracts thousands of tourists both domestically and internationally. Other events include Nanjing Baima Peach Blossom and Kite Festival, Jiangxin Zhou Fruit Festival and Linggu Temple Sweet Osmanthus Festival.

Nanjing has some of the oldest and finest museums in China. Nanjing Museum, formerly known as National Central Museum under KMT rule, is the first modern museum and remains as one of the leading museums in China. Other museums include the China Modern History Museum in the Presidential Palace, the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall, the City Museum of Nanjing, the Taiping Kingdom History Museum, the Nanjing Customs Museum, the Nanjing City Wall Cultural Museum, and a small museum and tomb honoring the 15th century seafaring admiral Zheng He.

Most of Nanjing's major theatres are multi-purpose, used as convention halls, cinemas, musical halls and theatres on different occasions. The major theatres include the People's Convention Hall and the Nanjing Arts and Culture Center.

A new cinema, Nanjing Shangying-Warner Cinema Complex, was opened in 2004, as the first modern cinema complex in Nanjing. It has become a must-visit for movie enthusiasts. After that, Nanjing had more modern cinemas in both Xinjiekou and the Confucius Temple, such as the Xinjiekou International Cinema Complex located on the seventh floor of Deji Plaza and Hengdian International Cinema in Aqua City on Jiankang Road.

Night Life
Traditionally Nanjing's nightlife was mostly centered around Confucius Temple area along the Qinhuai River, where night markets, restaurants and pubs thrived. Boating at night in the river was a main attraction of the city. The area was also famous for the concentration of upper-class prostitutes, many of them patronized by high-ranking government officials and wealthy businessmen. Prostitution was banned after the CCP took over Nanjing.

In recent years, several commercial streets have been developed, hence the nightlife has become more diverse: there are shopping malls opening late in the Xinjiekou CBD and Hunan Road. The well-established "Nanjing 1912" district hosts a wide variety of pastime facilities ranging from traditional restaurants and western pubs to dance clubs.

In 2005, in order to host The 10th National Game of People's Republic of China, there was a new stadium, Nanjing Olympic Sports Center, constructed in Nanjing. Compared to Wutaishan Sports Center, whose major stadium's capacity is 18,600, the stadium in Nanjing Olympic Sports Center is more advanced and has a bigger capacity. Nanjing Olympic Sports Center has a stadium of capacity 60,000. Its gymnasium has capacity of 13,000, and natatorium of capacity 3,000.

Tourist Attractions
Linggu Temple
Classical buildings in the Mochou Lake
Xuanwu Lake[edit] Buildings and monuments
Ancient period
Beiji Ge
City Wall of Nanjing
Chaotian Palace
Confucius Temple (Temple of Confucius) and Qinhuai River
Drum Tower
Jiangnan Gongyuan
Jiming Temple
Jinghai Temple
Linggu Temple
Ming Dynasty Palace Site
Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum and its surrounding complex
Zhonghua Gate
Qixia Temple
South Tang Mausoleums
Stone City
The Porcelain Pagoda of Nanjing
Yuejiang Lou
Xu Garden
Zhan Yuan Garden

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