July 07, 2011

Nanjing - The Purple Mountain

Many of Nanjing's famous sites are clustered around Zijinshan ("Purple Mountain"). By sites, I mean tombs. The Dr. Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum and the Ming Tombs are the headliners. Dr. Sun founded the Kuomintang party based on the Three Principles of the People - nationalism, democracy, and social welfare. He went on to become the first president of the Republic of China, naming Nanjing the capital.

Although he died in Beijing, the Father of Modern China was laid to rest in Nanjing. Construction of the mausoleum was completed in 1929, four years after his death. About four hundred steps have to be climbed to reach the main hall at the top. A fat child complained loudly to his mother as he approached the halfway mark. A magnificent music stage near the base of the mausoleum is home to hundreds of doves, elegantly blending in with the natural surroundings.

Purple Mountain is very green. A lush canopy covers the roads winding around the mountain. I took a taxi to Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum and then a bus to the nearby tombs of the emperors of the Ming Dynasty. The scenic burial ground is made in the traditional manner, with a long pathway leading to the tombs, accompanied by a lake, parks, and hills. Nanjing's Ming Xiaoling shares its World Heritage status with similar tombs from the same dynasty in Beijing and Shenyang, but was still worth a visit.


“The Revolution has not yet succeeded. Comrades, you must carry on!” — Sun Yat-Sen