So enough about cultural insights… how about some pictures?
It’s been an incredibly busy few days in Nanjing, with lots of UNESCO World Heritage Sites to visit, and things to see. I was pleasantly surprised by how nice Nanjing is!
The Ming Tombs:
These impressive stone statues line the entrance to one of Nanjing’s UNESCO World Heritage Sights, the Ming Tombs, the resting place of the first emperor and empress of the Ming Dynasty. Other animals include elephants, lions, and even unicorns which, strangely enough, did not have horns. Click the thumbnails below to see more.
The beautiful Linggu Pagoda, made entirely of stone, is not too far from the Ming Tombs — both being located within Purple Mountain, the scenic area which houses many of Nanjing’s top sights. I decided to climb to the top all the way up the spiral staircase. I’m not someone who is afraid of heights, but when I got to the top, the view made my stomach twinge with fear! Beautiful views though. People in Nanjing are lucky to have Purple Mountain so near to the city; it’s lush, the air is cool, and the forests are dense. You could say it’s like the Central Park of Nanjing…. except Central Park doesn’t have 1000 year old cultural relics in it!
Not only a temple, but a massive compound within a section of Nanjing’s old walled city. In fact, the temple itself is only a tiny part of the whole area and I only spent about ten minutes there. The old buildings in this area have been quite well preserved but many of the shops at street level have been turned into McDonalds, KFCs, Haagen Daaz and trendy clothing stores. Nonetheless it is quite nice to wander around the tiny back alleys with food stalls, teas, and of course various Chinese souvenirs.
Located within another section of Nanjing’s ancient city walls is Xuanwu Lake, a very nice place to walk around in the fresh air (thought yesterday was, actually, quite polluted and a bit grey). Couples lay in the shade playing with each other’s hair, old ladies gather at tiny tables to play mahjong, parents walk with their tiny kids, and families have fun in the paddle boats in the lake.
There are still a few other things to see but so far I think I’ve got a good taste of Nanjing. Although that is one thing that is a bit missing — Nanjing cuisine. Haven’t been able to find any yet!