Two days in Nanjing

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Nanjing is the capital of Jiangsu Province and is full of history and culture.  The city is located in the lower reaches of the Yangtze River and is about 300 kilometres from Shanghai.  To get from Beijing, friends and I took the fast train, so early one Saturday morning we got up and departed for the train station.  I had booked a first class seat and was very happy I had as it was very comfortable.

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Nanjing is listed as one of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China was was also the capital of the Republic of China before the Chinese Civil War in 1949.

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When we arrived we first visited the Zhonghua Gate Castle which is one of the biggest in Nanjing and said to be one of the best preserved.

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Next stop was to the Nanjing Massacre Museum, which is one place we all wanted to visit and so glad we did.  The Museum is a memorial for those who were killed in the Nanjing Massacre by the Imperial Japanese Army in 1937.

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The Museum is located in the southwestern corner of Nanjing known as Jiangdongmen, near a site where thousands of bodies were buried, called a “pit of ten thousand corpses”. It is said that 300.000 people died during the invasion.  The Chinese have created a very respectful and at the same time, informative, museum.

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The Memorial of Nanjing is located in an open park of many acres, where metal statues are positioned with inscriptions from Chinese intellectuals, poets etc. The final statue – which very much resembles the Victory of Samothrace with a pigeon in hand stretched to the sky, is dedicated to eternal peace.

Then onto the Confucius Temple and the Nanjing Presidential Tower.  Confucius Temple was given to Taoist practitioners during the reign of the Hongwu Emperor. The current buildings date from the 19th century, with additions made since then. The temple lost all financial support by the state as a result oft the revolution of 1911. During the late 1920s to 1931 and again in 1932 it was used as army barracks for troops the KMT regime and left in a dilapidated state. It has since been refurbished.

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I loved the Palace gardens and they were so big that I lost my friends when we were walking around.  The Presidential Palace housed the Office of the President of the Republic of China from 1927 until the republic was relocated to Taiwan in 1949.

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After dinner we took a thirty minute boat tour of the canals which remind me of Suzhou – just lovely.

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We stayed at the Nanjing Grand Hotel which I would thoroughly recommend (www.njgrandhotel.com).  Great room and probably one of the most comfortable beds I have slept in whilst in China.

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On Sunday we drove to the Dr Sun Yet-sen mausoleum along with, what I am sure was, 20,000 other visitors.  A beautiful day in glorious Nanjing so everyone was out and about sightseeing which was lovely to see.

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It was also the Plum Festival so we were fortunate to see the beautiful plum blossoms.

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We also visited the Mochou Lake Park area and the Yangtze River Bridge.  The lake and park, named after the legendary woman, Mochou, was owned by Zhu Yuanzhang, the first emperor of Ming Dynasty, and bestowed to his general Xu Da. Since then, it has become a famous garden best known for its two-storied Shenggi Pavilion. Within the park are other pavilions, gardens, pools and a stunning rock display. It is also noted for its architecture, collection of carved antique rosewood furniture and calligraphies. Visitors can take boats through the lotus blossomed lake.

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The Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge is a double-decked road-rail truss bridge across the Yangtze River between Pukou and Xiaguan in Nanjing.

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Its upper deck is part of China National Highway 104, spanning 4,588 metres. Its lower deck, with a double-track railway, is 6,772 metres long, and completes the Beijing-Shanghai Railway, which had been divided by the Yangtze for decades. The bridge carries approximately 80,000 vehicles and 200 trains per day.

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The bridge was completed and open for traffic in 1968. It was the third bridge over the Yangtze after the Wuhan Yangtze River Bridge and the Chongqing Baishatuo Yangtze River Bridge. It was the first heavy bridge designed and built using Chinese expertise.

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