On the south bank of the famous Yangtze River lies Nanjing, thought to be the most beautiful of China’s cities. With the Purple Mountain as a backdrop and the Yangtze at its side, Nanjing is understandably a picturesque city. In the past it has been the capital of both the early Ming and the 19th century Taiping Heavenly Kingdom.
You will find Nanjing surrounded by a grand city wall which gives the impression it is a small city, but in fact it is rather spread out. Enclosed within is a ‘City of Lakes’ and proud capital of the Jiangsu province. Evidently it is a great mix of the old and new. Today it has great restaurants with an eventful nightlife and is continually developing into a modern metropolis.
Getting to Nanjing is easy with its own International Airport, and getting around couldn’t be easier. Most get around easily enough on foot while there is a superb bus system and local taxis almost everywhere, all at reasonable prices.
The first thing to do, and likely the first thing you will see is the Nanjing City Wall. Being a masterpiece of ancient architecture, the now 21km wall is somewhat in ruins but still stands as a historical relic.
Next, head to the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom Museum, here you can explore history through memorabilia and photographs from the Taiping Rebellion. The Fuzi Miao should be somewhere on your itinerary as the Temple of Confucius dates back to 1034 though has had additions since. Its double-eaved roof is one of the more notable features of the main hall, a very traditional architecture style.
Lastly, the Chaotian Gong should not be missed on your Nanjing experience. Once a worship place of the ancestors, it’s now the home of the Municipal museum.
The best time to go is usually May and June, then again in September and October as Nanjing’s climate during these months is mild, with warm temperatures.
For a brief Nanjing hotel guide, start with these:
Nanjing Zhongshan Hotel – City Centre
Parkview Dingshan Hotel – Shanxi Road Area
Lakeview Xuanwu Hotel - Drum Tower
Nanjing is a great place to visit to get a taste of traditional China with the modernity of the new China all in one place, and a beautiful place at that.