Nanjing's largest park, Xuanwu...
Nanjing's largest park, Xuanwu Hu is a lake five kilometers long divided into three sections by narrow islands and causeways. Located in the northeastern part of the city, Xuanwu Hu offers pleasant walks and easy biking plus the prerequisite for any Chinese park: a collection of boats for rent. Apart from a number of arched bridges (one with the Chinese characters for 'toilet' scrawled on it, apparently voicing the opinion that the water below isn't fit for drinking) and a dingy pavilion, Xuanwu Hu does not have many architectural features of note. There is an ancient monorail (as monorails go, that is) that winds its way through the park at a snail's pace.
In spite of the park's unspectacular state in the present, like most Nanjing sites, it has a long history. A training ground for naval forces during the Southern Dynasties, the lake was originally named Sangpo Hu (Mulberry Lake). While reviewing his forces on the lake, one emperor swore that he saw a black dragon appear on the lake. Thereafter, the lake was renamed Xuanwu Hu ('xuan' means 'black', 'wu' means 'military', and 'hu' means 'lake'). After being converted to rice fields during the 11th century, the lake was restored and opened as a park soon after the 1911 revolution.
Xuanwu Hu is best seen in combination with the Ming city wall bordering the park to its east and south and the Ji Ming Temple just outside Jie Fang Men at Xuanwu Hu's southwestern edge. The main entrance, through Xuanwu Men, is just east of Zhongyang Lu near the intersection with Hunan Lu.
Or, if you want to wander down an interesting alley where some of Nanjing's oldest houses have been built right up against the city wall, then don't enter the park at all. Instead, take a right at Xuanwu Men onto Kunlun Lu and follow it all the way to Jiefang Men. After about two minutes walking time, look for a faded yellow slogan from the Cultural Revolution painted on the western face of one of the buildings on your left. Then again, if you take this route, you might miss sighting Xuanwu Hu's black dragon. The picture shows all! :) More than words
Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Mausoleum
Perched on top of a mountain, this mausoleum has spectacular views of the area! There is a total of 392 stairs to climb in order to reach the top. The building at the top is called the Sacifricial Hall, & inside is a marble statue of Dr. Sun-Yat Sen. North of the hall lies the vault, where a statue of him rests on a white marble coffin, under which the great man lies.
Taiping Heavenly Kingdom History Museum
Ten minutes west of the Temple of Confucius and right of the small Zhanyuan Lu is the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom History Museum, located in the former residence of Xu Da, a Ming Prince. The sad but fascinating story of the Taiping Uprising, which culminated in the occupation of Nanjing by rebels from 1853 - 1864 is told here in relics with English captions. The building itself was the residence of one of the rebel generals during the uprising.
Nanjing - how exciting!
Pic1: Our flat in Nanjing - its in one of Nanjings many new apartment villages, with security guards everywhere and hardly any residents in site! Its lovely, and Dani's mum has done a great job in furnishing it (although me+Dani are both not sure about the purple curtains!)
Pic2: This is in one of Nanjings MANY highly modernised shopping centres, but the buzz about this one is its underground - v popular with the young people and it really comes alive at night! I love the nightlife in Nanjing, there is always something to do, and we've spent quite a few nights hanging out with Danis friends at the playstation (basically a large arcade), karaoke booths (great fun - and cheap!) and at the tonnes of clubs and bars in town.
Pic3: Not much to say here. Ive kept this photo to remind Dani of the FOUR HOURS that i spent waiting here for her hair to be "done".
Pic4,5&6: This is part of the gigantic Confucian Temple complex. Its mostly beautifully restored buildings from the Ming and Qing dynasties, and restaurants and other forms of entertainment have come in and taken over. Another delightful area to spend in the city at night, and as you can tell from the crowds it gets pretty darn crowded!
Pic7: This is a reminder of a great night we had with Danis old friend 'Ring' - yes the guy on the right whose not me. Cant remember why he calls himself Ring but anyway, we met up with a few other people after paddling on the lake next to Purple Mountain, and went to the Karaoke!! This guy used to be a lead singer in a band so as you can imagine blew everybody else away with his vocals to some classics, but i wasnt too shabby either! (meaning i was only out of tone on 7 of the 8 songs i sung - blah!). The beers were flowing, and for three hours in a booth with five people - it only cost a mere 15pounds - Snacks+Drinks Included!!!!!
Pic8: Dani eating "Bing Tang Hulu" which translates "Red plumb with melting sugar". These things for me symbolise the eat-on-the-street culture in China, and the fact that you can basically find any kind of food on a stick - i mean it!
On the same note, you will never see so many different forms of plumb. Lucky for me that i like plumbs! - You can find sticky plumbs everywhere, you can even drink sticky plumb juice (v sweet!)