Court­ing Nan­jing

China's Foreign Trade (English) - - This Is China - By Lily Wang

Nan­jing (his­tor­i­cally known as Nank­ing), which was the im­pe­rial cap­i­tal of sev­eral Chi­nese dy­nas­ties, is one of the Four Great An­cient Capitals of China. In the Chi­nese lan­guage, Nan­jing means “south­ern cap­i­tal”. Sit­u­ated in the lower reach of the Yangtze River, Nan­jing sports a long his­tor­i­cal her­itage and has served as the cap­i­tal for six dy­nas­ties. Most of the Nan­jing’s at­trac­tions are re­minders of the city’s past glory, es­pe­cially un­der the Ming Dy­nasty (1368-1644). In Nan­jing, you can not only see a di­verse range of his­tor­i­cal and cul­tural build­ings, such as an­cient tem­ples and dis­tinc­tive gar­den build­ings, but you can also visit stun­ning scenic spots and ar­eas. Fol­low in our foot­steps and have a sum­mer fling with Nan­jing!

The Con­fu­cius Tem­ple

The Nan­jing Con­fu­cius Tem­ple is lo­cated on the north­ern bank of the Qin­huai River. As one of the 4 great Con­fu­cius Tem­ples in China, it is ac­tu­ally a build­ing com­plex that mainly con­sists of three parts, namely the Con­fu­cius Tem­ple, the School and the Ex­am­i­na­tion Hall. It is a place for peo­ple to wor­ship Con­fu­cius, the most fa­mous philoso­pher and ed­u­ca­tor in an­cient China.

Now, it is lo­cated in one of the busiest ar­eas in Nan­jing near the east and west mar­kets. The front gate of the tem­ple fea­tures the Lingx­ing Gate, which is a stone con­struc­tion with six col­umns and three sep­a­rate gates. When en­ter­ing from the Lingx­ing Gate, tourists will then pass through Dacheng Gate, be­hind which is the cen­tral court­yard fea­tur­ing a straight path lead­ing to Dacheng Hall. There are nor­mally three court­yards within the tem­ple area.

The tem­ple is cen­tered around Dacheng Hall, where a statue of Con­fu­cius is en­shrined. Other halls and pavil­ions are laid out sym­met­ri­cally. The Qin­huai River is re­garded as be­ing the com­pan­ion pool of the tem­ple. On the op­po­site bank of the river is an im­pos­ing red screen wall with green tiles.

The Qin­huai River

The Qin­huai River flows past the Con­fu­cius Tem­ple. It is a branch of the mighty Yangtze River, and is the largest river in Nan­jing, with a course that runs for ap­prox­i­mately 110 kilo­me­ters. It is ac­tu­ally a city wa­ter sys­tem that con­sists of an outer wa­ter­course and an in­ner wa­ter­course. When re­fer­ring to the Qin­huai River, this is usu­ally a ref­er­ence to the in­ner wa­ter­course which runs through the city of Nan­jing from east to west and then pours into the Yangtze River.

In an­cient times, the ar­eas sur­round­ing the Qin­huai River and the Con­fu­cius Tem­ple were the most pop­u­lar and bustling ar­eas. The banks of the Qin­huai River were the gath­er­ing place for no­ble and wealthy fam­i­lies, and were also fre­quently vis­ited by schol­ars. It was also a place where lo­cals would pur­chase daily or lux­ury items. Float­ing lights are the most fa­mous thing to see on the Qin­huai River. Any boat or ship, large or small, which takes to the river will be festooned with col­ored lamps. It is a very im­por­tant ac­tiv­ity for vis­i­tors to ride such a boat, and to en­joy the scenery float­ing past them.

The Nan­jing City Wall

The Nan­jing City Wall, which is the largest an­cient city wall in the world, was built dur­ing the Ming Dy­nasty by the first Ming Em­peror Zhu Yuanzhang in the pe­riod from 1366 to 1386. It was listed as an im­por­tant her­itage site in 1988 by the State Coun­cil of China. With an orig­i­nal length of 34 kilo­me­ters and a height rang­ing from 14 to 21 me­ters, as well as a 14-me­ter foun­da­tion, 13,616 crenels, 200 guard tow­ers and 13 city gates, the Nan­jing City Wall is cer­tainly grand. Nowa­days, a well-pre­served sec­tion ap­prox­i­mately 19 kilo­me­ters long is the per­fect place to visit.

It was built ac­cord­ing to the ge­o­graphic lo­ca­tions for mil­i­tary de­fenses; and its func­tions for pro­tect­ing against wa­ter and re­mov­ing wa­ter were also de­signed sci­en­tif­i­cally with practicality in mind. Many of the city walls built dur­ing other dy­nas­ties in other cities were de­stroyed in wars and over times, but the Nan­jing Ming City Wall has stood tall for more than 600 is a his­tor­i­cally-sig­nif­i­cant mon­u­ment due to its struc­ture, which is the first wengcheng (Chi­nese:

, also known as “urn walls” a spe­cially de­signed cas­tle with great瓮城s­trate­gic ad­van­tages for mil­i­tary de­fense) struc­ture, and the de­sign of the city moat and bridges.

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