Susan's Shanghai Blog - Week 51
Back in China this week, specifically a quick weekend trip to Nanjing. Nanjing is the capital of Jiangsu province in eastern China and it's name means "Southern Capital". It is the second-largest commercial centre in the East China region after Shanghai, With an urban population of over seven million in 2011.
We headed there early one Saturday morning on the high-speed train. Here is Tom next to the front of our train.
A view from our hotel room out into the city.
The City Wall of Nanjing was designed by Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang after he founded the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) and established Nanjing as the capital 600 years ago. Originally, thirteen gates were built through Nanjing’s walls, growing to eighteen by the end of the Qing dynasty. Today, only 2 are left standing intact. This is what is left of the Hanzhong Gate (a west gate, originally called Shichengmen) standing in the middle of a plaza. These walls are part of the last of a series of three or four courtyards that made up the gate complex.
We took a walk around and headed to Mouchou Lake Park, which has this great looking entrance gate. When we went in, there was a nice ornamental pond and fountains, as well as a rock display.
The chess pavillion is where emperor Hongwu supposedly played important chess games against one of his generals. Inside there was a display with alot of people who we assumed were emperors (although we couldn't tell from the plaques). Then we just took a bunch of pictures of the lake. Near the end, we came across a kids play area where they let the kids get into these clear balloon things to play on the water.
This is at the Nanjing Massacre Memorial, which tells of Japanese atrocities during Nanjing's occupation by the Japanese in WWII. Historians and witnesses have estimated that 250,000 to 300,000 people were killed. The 2011 movie The Flowers of War starring Christian Bale is about this Nanjing Massacre. Out front are all of these statues and monuments, somewhat abstract, that tell stories of the men, women, and children that were killed. One of them, that shows someone being carried on the back of another, said "A thirteen-year-old carrying his grandmother who has died in a bomb, Flee-flee-flee".
Once inside, there is a large open area and on one of the walls, the words "Victims 300,000", written in multiple languages.
As we came out of the museum (which wouldn't allow pictures) there were a huge number of demonstrators. This is one of the many demonstrations in China against Japan and their nationalization of the islands that both countries claim. There were alot of protesters and almost as many police!
This is the ZhongHua Gate, or the Southern Gate of the city and was the largest among the thirteen original gates. The Gate of China has weathered wind and rain for 600 years. It still holds its original state except for the wooden structures that have been destroyed and some features on the wall constructed of sticks and stones. It is rare in the world for its vast scale and sophisticated style. Supposedly it was very effective as a deterent, since no enemy ever tried to force the gate.
The Confucius Temple and Qinhuai scenic area is in the Nanjing old city zone. The temple's origins go back to 1034 but most of the current buildings were built at the end of the 19th century. Opposite of the Temple entrance is the Qinhuai River, where they have this great emblem of golden dragons on the wall and you can take river cruises.
Ming Sun is regarded as one of the 10 philosophers of four subjects under Confucius and earned a statue.
Duan-mu Ci served as the prime minister of State Lu and State Wei. After Confucius passed away, Duan-mu Ci guarded his tomb for 6 years to show his repect.
Dacheng Hall was the main hall for honoring and offering sacrifices to Confucius.
Yutu Spring ... the story is that Qinhui once saw a white hare running into the ground when he was studying and had someone dig at the spot where the hare ran in, and a spring came out.
They have a bell there as well, and people were taking turns ringing the large bell. This bell is the Liyun bell, which is actually not old! It was only cast in 1999 for the 2500th birthday of Confucius, weighing in at 4 tons.
From there, we headed up to the Purple Gold Mountain and the Sun Yat-sen Museum and Mausoleum. Mind you .. it took us almost an hour of walking up the mountain to get to the base of the Mausoleum (which in the first picture you can see WAY up the hill) and we climbed up the 392 stairs only to find it had already closed for the day. Oh well. You can gaze at the nice pictures anyway.
So once we found out it was closed, we decided to head back to the hotel. Here is where we hit a few minor little problems. We really didn't want to walk back the same way we came, since it was really long. We had seen these little trains passing us going up, so we saw one and thought ... oh, we'll take the train back down to the metro station. We hop on this train and the driver starts asking us things in Chinese. Luckily, the guy in front of us spoke English and translated. They were asking for our tickets and we said we needed to buy them. Ticket office was closed since this was the last train, but the train driver said that was okay, we could ride for free. So we thought we were home free then. But NO! When the train stopped and we all got off, we were not where we wanted to be and really had no idea where we were. We looked around, got bearings, and figured we were on the wrong side of the mountain! There was a city bus so we decided to try to see if that city bus would take us anywhere near a metro station. Unfortunately, again, nobody there spoke English until this nice young man came up and asked if he could help. We told him where we were hoping to get to and he told us no problem, he'd take us to the metro station, he was going there anyway with his mom. So we spoke a bit while we were on the bus and as he walked us to the metro station. He spoke great English although his mom spoke none. He had gone to a Foreign Language high school that ended up having alot of students go to very prestigous colleges in the US (like Harvard and Princeton). It was founded, he said, as a way to get diplomats and translators for diplomats trained in multiple languages. We got on the metro and he got off at his stop but his mom was still on the train with us for a few stops. She at least knew where we needed to get off because as we came up to our station, she did the hand motions to tell us that this was our stop. We thanked her and headed on our way. A bright spot to end a rather less-than-ideal situation.
So we attempted to get there the next day (also totally failed)! We ended up just walking around the mountain somewhat aimlessly. Well, we HAD a goal but we failed to reach it I guess. Anyway, to start, we passed the Meeting-the-Emperor bridge, so named because it is said that in the Qing Dynasty (starting in 1616), when Emperor Qianlong came to visit the Linggu Temple, all the monks waiting along the bridge to meet him.
The Linggu Temple was first built in 515 during the reign of the Liang Dynasty. It was destroyed and then rebuilt under the reign of Emperor Tongzhi of the Qing Dynasty. This had alot of the normal things that you see in all Buddhist temples, like the incense burners and golden Buddha statues. Out front we also found a Stone Tortoise which was HUGE, as you can see compared to Tom standing next to it.
The Wuliang Hall, or Beamless Hall, was constructed in 1381, and is 22 metres high and 53.8 metres wide. It was built with bricks from the bottom to the top entirely, without a piece of wood or a single nail. The pictures don't really do it justice .. we tried to show the expanse of it, how large the halls were, especially without any nails or beams.
We really don't know what these are, but they were kinda cute!
The Linggu Pagode is part of the Linggu temple and is a 9-story pagoda that is 60 meters in height.
This is the Baogong Pagoda, which is supposedly the tomb of Buddhist monk Baozhi.
We also came across other statues within this one area. They obviously were very key to the history of China since they ended up with their own statue.
Emperor Liangwu, who was one of the Emperors durn the Liang Dynasty.
Kang Senghui, although I don't know why he got his own statue.
The Three Stone Drums with Tom trying to play them, date from the early Qing Dynasty.
Then we headed back to the train station. We decided to relax in this cafe and ordered some tea. We don't really speak Chinese and they definately didn't speak English. I do know the word "cha" which is Tea in Chinese, although I can't then say which of the thousands of tea that I wanted. But we got tea :-) I decided to take pictures just to show. This is hot tea, and it comes in just a normal glass (hence hot water in glass makes very hot glass). It also just has the tea leaves in the glass. So if you can stand to hold the glass to drink it, you have to kinda sip from the top and try not to swallow the tea leaves.