Nanjing: Six Historic Places You Can't Miss

Nanjing: Six Historic Places You Can't Miss

Nanjing is one of the four ancient capitals of China. For millennia, the Yangtze has been the source of Chinese Civilization, and Nanjing has long been at the center of it. Anywhere you go in Nanjing, you'll see signs of the city's ancient history.

The Presidential Estate (Zongtong Fu 总统府)

1)  The Presidential Estate (Zongtong Fu 总统府)View In Map
The estate is split into three main parts. The east section was the site of the Taiping government that ruled much of southern China during the 1840s. The center section was a government building during the Nationalist period when Nanjing was the capital of China. The Administration Center has its tables and seats arranged into tiers and you can see where Chiang Kai-shek and Sun Yat-sen gave their inauguration speeches.

Ticket Price: 40 RMB
Address: 292 Changjiang Lu, Nanjing
Tel: 025 8457 8733
Getting there: Bus No. 29, 65, 95, 304 to Zongtongfu stop

Xuanwu Lake (玄武湖), Nanjing Photo:

2)  Xuanwu Lake and Taicheng 玄武湖和台城
Nanjing's Xuanwu Lake is one of the three most famous lakes south of the Yangtze. The lake is divided into five different sections and has artifacts dating back to the Song Dynasty. Yingzhou, one of the five sections, is the best place around the lake to enjoy flora. 

Taicheng is located on the south shore of Xuanwu Lake and is connected to the Ming Dynasty capital buildings. There is also an ancient wall stretching 253 meters and rising 20 meters above the ground.

Ticket Price: Park entrance fee: 20 RMB.
Getting there: Huancheng Road has a free tourist bus that goes to the lake, or take the tour boat from Nanjing Train Station.
Xuanwu Lake Park: Near the south gate of the park, you can rent small paddle boats for 15 RMB/hour and electric boats for 30 RMB/hour.

Xinanli 熙南里, Nanjing

3)  Xinanli 熙南里View In Map
Xinanli is the former residence of Gan Xi, a famous writer from the Qing Dynasty. You can have a real local food here in a traditional Chinese shopping district. The clothes shopping in the area is great too, and you can stop in at some of Nanjing's oldest boutiques. Gan Xi's former residence is located at Nanputing 15, 17, and 19. This home has 99 and half rooms (9 is considered the "largest" and most auspicious number in China) and was built during the Jiaqing Period (1796-1820).

Location: Zhongshan Nanlu Road, Jianyelu South, Baixia District, Nanjing
Getting there: Metro Line 1 to Sanshan Jie Station

Location: Zhongshan Nanlu Road, Jianyelu South.

Yihelu Mansion District 颐和路公馆区, Nanjing (Photo:

4)  Yihelu Mansion District 颐和路公馆区View In Map
Yihelu has some of the most impressive structures remaining from the Nationalist period. During the 30s and 40s, the Nanjing elite all had their residences here. There are over 225 mansions still in existence, making it the largest such area in Nanjing. 

Location: Yihelu Road and Ninghailu Road. 

Swallow Rock (Yanzi Ji 燕子矶), Nanjing

Location: Yihe Lu and Ninghai Lu
Getting there: Bus No. 318 to Yihe Lu

5)  Swallow Rock (Yanzi Ji 燕子矶)View In Map
Swallow Rock is one of the three most famous rocks protruding from the Yangtze River. It rises 36 meters out of the water and is just north of the city near Guanyin Gate. Named Swallow Rock because the stone formation is said to resemble a swallow wing, Yanzi Ji was visited especially by Kangxi and Qianlong, the two longest-reigning emperors of the Qing Dynasty. Qianlong wrote a poem by hand on a stone at the top of the rock.

Ticket Price: 10 RMB
Location: Beijiao Guanyin Menwai
Tel: 025 8531 1337
Getting there: Bus No. 17, 65, 173, 179, 817 to Yudao Jie

6)  The Heart of the River (Jiangxin Zhou 江心洲)View In Map
A small island in the middle of the Yangtze River, Jiangxin Zhou is less than 20 square kilometers but boasts some of the cleanest air in Nanjing. This is one of the few places you can get the Nanjing specialty vegetable luhao. The island is known for its grape orchard and fishing areas. Several modern artists have also set up there own workshops on the island.

Getting there: Take the ferry from Shangxinhe Dock.

Source: National Geographic Traveler

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