NanjingToday we visited several of Nanjing's best known attractions. One of China's four ancient capitals, Nanjing was also known as Nanking, has been the site ofmany historical events central to China's long history. Sun Yat-sen was China's first provisonal president where he made Nanjing the capital of the newly created China.after the last emperor of the Qing Dynasty. The struggle to determine what direction China would take in the 20th century was cut shortby Japan when it invaded China in 1937. Nanjing is most famous for the infamous massacres which took place in then Nanking when the Japanese systematicallykilled over 300,000 people, destoyed most of the city and injured hundreds of thousands more.
Today, that horrendous event is remembered with a memorial to those killed during the "Rape of Nanking." The memorial was dedicated in 1985 and contains archival material from Chinese, Japanese and foreign sources. Much like the Holocast memorials that document the events of Hitler's scheme to eradicate the Jews, the Nanjing Massacre Memorial contains many candid images, documetns and testimonials from the residents of the city who survived to interviews and materials from Japan and Japanese soldiers who took part in the massacre. It is a place you should visit should you find yourself in Nanjing someday.
Sculpture at the entrace of the memorial.
Information is written in English, Chinese and Japanese throughout the site.
Many of the artifacts were found after the war during construction decades later. Many Japanese weapons and munitons have been discovered and are on display.
The names of thousands of the victims, where they lived, how old they were and what they did is kept at the memorial and is available to the public.
The memorial is built on a site where a mass grave of over 10,000 bodies were discovered in recent times. Their burial site remains untouched and is
part of the memorial's collection,
The memorial contains many impressive sculptures and large scale works of art. Many have been inspired by the eventsin the 1930s and some are modern interpretations by Chinese artists and designers.
Our next stop was to the Presidential Palace which has been used by all of China's modern leaders from Sun Yat-sen to Mao Tsetung.
The Palace with thousands of our favorite friends visting on a hot humid July day.
This idealized painting perhaps conveys what people were hoping for at the turn of the 20th century when the Emperor of China was removed andSun Yat-sen hoped to unify and modernize China. Unfortunately it would take another 40 years to see some stability in China and then a gradual presence on the world scene.
What is interesting about the musuem is the amount of documentation and artifacts that are exhibited. While one would think that during the Revoluntionary Red Guard days that anything associated with the west, Chang Kai-chek and other non-communist thought would be destroyed, the opposite seems to be the case.
The letters, documents, and personal belongs of all the people associated with China's modern history are many and on display in the palace, now open to the public.
From the palace we toured one of Nanjing's oldest city gates, Zong Hua Gate. Designed to entrap attackers, the gate is often known as the box gate because of its many paths which eventually lead an attacker to a dead end. The gate was defended with the use of cannons which were mounted on the top of the gate walls.
Replica of a cannon used to defend the city
The design of the gate would funnel attacks from ramps into corridors and passages where the defenders could pick off the enemy with bows and arrows.
Our final stop on this day tour of Nanjing was Confucius' Temple.
The temple area is a major tourist area for the city of Nanjing.
We had a multi-course dinner to end the day with plenty of beer to ward off the heat and humidity.
Like many citiies in eastern and southern China, people flock to the streets at night to enjoy a respite from the day's heat.
With numerous canals throughout the city, boats and barges take people on rides to enjoy the coolness of the water.
China's cities are as modern as any in the west, complete with light and traffice pollution. Tomorrow I will head east to Zhenjiang and the town of Dagang.
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