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Nanjing is the capital of Jiangsu Province, and in the past it was the capital of several empires and of the Republic of China.
Nanjing means “Southern Capital.” It has alternated with Beijing as the capital of big empires and of modern governments. Beijing means Northern Capital.
In the past, it was a prominent city, and its rulers benefited from the partial control of trade on the big and long Yangtze River that allowed trade vessels to travel from Sichuan in the west of China to Shanghai and the Pacific Ocean.
During the Ming Empire, it was the largest city in China. Now it is a city of about 8 million people, and it isn’t considered one of the bigger cities in China. The remains of the empires of the past can be toured all over the city, and the nearby Purple Mountain (Zijinshan) area has many historical, cultural, and religious sites to visit. You can also go there for walks or to exercise in the parks and natural areas.
The government has built museums and memorials to Sun Yat-Sen and his revolution and the Chinese who died during the Japanese occupation. There is also a memorial for the thousands of American airmen who died defending China. Many ancient historical sites in the city and on Purple Mountain including Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum are preserved and developed for visitors.
One very good distinction of the city is that it is reported to have about the lowest crime rate in China. Another distinction is that it has the biggest inland port in China that can handle big ocean-going ships. What is called the biggest train station in Asia is being built in the southern part of the city at the Nanjing South Train Station, and one of the world’s fastest trains is being built to connect it with Beijing.
Location: On the Yangtze River near the western border of Jiangsu Province. It is about 300 kilometers (200 miles) from the sea and Shanghai. It is on the southern side of the Yangtze that protected the city from enemies in the north. In the area of Nanjing, the Yangtze River flows from the southwest to the northeast.
Best Time to Visit: During the months of May and September, October and November when it is warm but there isn’t the heaviest monsoon rain.
Transportation: Nanjing is served by bullet trains, and they are convenient and economical compared to flying from or to Shanghai, Wuxi, Suzhou and Hangzhou. Many more routes are under construction, and they are planned to begin operation in the next four years.
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