Nanjing, China -- whose name is literally translated from Mandarin as “South Capital” -- is one of China’s old capital cities located on the mainland’s eastern coast and built on the banks of the Yangtze River. A destination in its own right, Nanjing is filled with fascinating sights, enormous parks, and one of the world’s most beautiful and heart wrenching museums, but it is also only a short distance from the more frequently visited Shanghai. Whether you’re planning to come for only a weekend from Shanghai or to give the city more time, Nanjing will not disappoint.
With just over three-and-a-half million residents, Nanjing is considered a small city for China, but it isn’t short on history. The Ming Tombs date back to Emperor Hongwu (born in the fourteenth century), and can be found in the enormous Zhongshan Park. The park is named after Sun Yat Sen, the founding father of the PRC (People’s Republic of China), who was buried there in the twenties. Just south of the railway station and near Zhongshan is another park, Xuanwu Lake, a permanent fixture of the city whose own history is believed to date back to the second century AD. South of all these sites lies the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall, built in the eighties to commemorate the three hundred thousand victims of the Nanjing Massacre by the Imperial Japanese Army during the Second Sino-Japanese War. The museum is mostly outdoors, filled with haunting sculptures that are larger than life, and a grassy square representing future peace.
Like many Chinese cities, Nanjing is very spread out and is divided into residential districts. Most travelers will choose to stay near Xuanwu, a downtown district close to the station, both parks, and many Nanjing, China hostels. Though the metro system is not extensive and everything is far away, it is not necessarily a detriment to stay far from downtown. Buses are aplenty and taxis are cheap. Other hostels in Nanjing, China, can be found in Qinhuai, along the river of the same name, and Fuzimiao, both of which are a bit far from the parks but closer to the museums and Nanjing University. In coming years, Nanjing will no doubt grow as a top China tourist destination and more Nanjing, China hostels will build up all over this magnificent city.
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