Nanjing (meaning southern capital) is one
of the six ancient capitals of China, situated at the south bank of
the lower reaches of the Yangtze River.
Today, Nanjing is the capital
of Jiangsu province and covers an area of 860 square kilometers with a
population of more than 5 million.
Various dynasties have made Nanjing their
base. The most famous of these periods is when Nanjing was the capital
of China; during the Ming Dynasty between 1368 and 1644 and the
establishment of the People's Republic of China in the early 20th
Century. Many of the city's historical sites are date back to these
periods and Sun
Yatsen's Mausoleum and the Ming
Tombs are examples of the wealth of culture existing in this
the city is renowned for being an educational and cultural center,
with a large student (foreign and native Chinese) population. Nanjing
is a pretty place, with tree- lined streets, hills and lakes, making
the intense heat of east China's summers more bearable.
The pace of life here is slower than many
other Chinese cities and Nanjing seems quite conservative in
comparison to the brash modernity of neighboring Shanghai. Indeed the
local's mantra "man zou" (go slow) is a reflection of the
cautious and reserved attitude of many of the city's residents.
Like many Chinese cities however, the
charm of this place is being threatened. The developers have moved in
and the old streets and classical buildings are being torn apart to
make way for expressways and skyscrapers.
For the time being, Nanjing remains a
charming city to spend a few days in, absorbing some history and
relaxing in the laid back atmosphere before it disappears altogether.