What Your History Class Didn’t Teach You About Nanjing

Johnathan Molina is a student at Texas A&M University and an ISA Featured Blogger. He is currently studying abroad with ISA in Shanghai, China.

The City of Nanjing

A 3-hour drive northwest of Shanghai lies the ancient capital of China known as Nanjing. The city of Nanjing was the capital of China for many different dynasties before Beijing took the name. The city itself can teach a lot about Chinese history with the many monuments and memorials the city has built over the years.

A view of the city from the top of Nanjing’s city wall.

Popular Destinations

One of the best places to go while in Nanjing is Sun Yat-Sen’s mausoleum. Sun Yat-Sen’s tomb lies inside this mausoleum; he is often considered the father of modern China. The mausoleum lies on top of a mountain, to get there you must climb a countless number of steps. The view of the city from the tomb however, is a very rewarding vista.

Many Chinese people climb these stairs every day to catch a glimpse of the tomb where the father of China is buried.

Another location to should visit and learn some history is the city wall of Nanjing. Once the most guarded wall in all of China, now it is the most well-preserved. It is connected to the main city gate that stopped countless invaders from taking over the city during China’s many different dynasties. The top of the wall also offers an amazing view of the city.

A section of the ancient Nanjing city wall.

If you want to experience the real culture of Nanjing, then you must go to Qinhuai river. It is one of Nanjing’s most lively areas full of small shops and restaurants situated along the river. This river is popular among tourists that want to explore traditional Nanjing cuisine.

This is the entrance to the Qinhuai river in Nanjing on a typical weekend night.

The Nanjing Massacre Memorial

One last location that is a must-see in Nanjing is the Nanjing massacre memorial. During World War II, Japanese invaders took over Nanjing, which was the capital of China at the time. The Japanese bombed the city, raped women in front of their families, and massacred the people of Nanjing. In the end of this gruesome event, 300,00 citizens had died and people said the rivers of Nanjing turned red from the blood of the many fallen victims. This massacre also has the name of the forgotten Holocaust, since it was one of the deadliest events in human history. This memorial hall is special since the reason why it was built is not only to remember the fallen, but to remind people that prolonging peace among nations is the answer for humanity to prosper.

This statue is set at the end of the massacre memorial hall, it has the word peace written at the base in both English and Chinese.

The world awaits…discover it.

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