Nanjing: A City Surrounded by Landscapes of Green Mountains and Rivers

Nanjing, the capital of Jiangsu Province, is located along the lower reaches of the Yangtze River. Known as “Jinling” in ancient times, Nanjing is a city surrounded by landscapes of green mountains and rivers. The scenic and historic sties are centered on Purple Mountain and Xuanwu Lake.

Purple Mountain (Tzu-chin Mountain or Zijin Shan)

Purple Mountain, also called Zhongshan Mountain, is located on the eastern outskirts of Nanjing. It is about 7 km from east to west, and 4 km from north to south. Green pines and cypresses make up the woodlands, which contain more than 200 attractions. As a famous scenic area of China, the Zhongshan Scenic Area boasts many attractions, including the Dr. Sun Yat-sen’s Mausoleum, the Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum, the Meihua Mountain, the Linggu Temple, the Tzu-chin Mountain Observatory, the Zhongshan Botanical Garden, and the Jiming Temple.

Purple Mountain (Tzu-chin Mountain or Zijin Shan), Nanjing

Xuanwu Lake

The Xuanwu Lake is located northeast of Nanjing at the foot of the Zhongshan Mountain. Xuanwu Lake Park is the oldest and largest park in Nanjing, It covers an area of 472 hectares, including a surface area of 368 hectares. In the Six Dynasties, it was a place for troop training, hunting or amusement. In the early Ming Dynasty, the “yellow-book library” was built and was listed as a forbidden area. Xuanwu Lake Park is composed of five oases of different styles, namely “Willows in Huanzhou”, “Autumn Chrysanthemums in Liangzhou”, “Cloud and Trees in Cuizhou”, “Cloud and Mist in Lingzhou’ and “Flowers in Yingzhou”.

Xuanwu Lake, Nanjing

City Wall of Nanjing

The city wall was built around the ancient city of Nanjing more than 600 years ago during the reign of Emperor Hongwu of the Ming Dynasty. The construction commenced in 1366 and was completed in 1386. The shape of the city wall is not limited to the ancient square. The wall was built for military needs and they made full use of the city’s unique terrain including hills and rivers. In the Ming Dynasty, it had a total length of 35,267 km and a height of 14-21 meters, and there was also an outer city which had a circumference of nearly 60 km. With 13 gates, the city wall surrounds the Nanjing landscape. Recommended attractions of the city wall include Taicheng City, Zhonghua Gate, Yuejiang Tower, and Dongshui Pass.

City Wall of Nanjing

Yanzi Ji (Swallow Rock)

Located outside the Central Gate of Nanjing, the Yanzi Ji Park looks from a distance the Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge to the south and the 2nd Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge to the east, and backs on Mufu Mountain in the south and the Yangtze River in the north. It is the main scenic attraction in the Binjiang Scenic Belt, and it is dominated by the mighty mountains, the vast bodies of water, the strange caves, the odd rocks and the ancient pavilions. Since ancient times, Yanzi Ji has been a strategically important military place and a famous ferry crossing. In history, many generals and ministers visited here and left many poems. Emperor Qianlong traveled to the regions south of the Yangtze River six times, and visited Yanzi Ji five times. Yanzi Ji at sunset was one of 48 scenic spots in ancient Jinling. The red cliffs that bounded the river are bright and colorful, like a neon rainbow.

Yanzi Ji, Nanjing

Mufu Mountain

Mufu Mountain, located to the north of Nanjing, stretches for a distance of more than 5 km. In the Eastern Jin Dynasty, Prime Minister Wang Dao established the Mufu (office) there, so it came to be known as “Mufu Mountain”. The main peak of Mufu Mountain has an elevation of 205 meters, and bounds the Yangtze River to the north and Tzu-chin Mountain to the south. Standing on Mufu Mountain, you can have a panoramic view of the Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge, the 2nd Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge, areas north of the Yangtze River and the urban areas of Nanjing. In addition, the Mufu Mountain Scenic Area is very rich in terms of cultural landscapes.

Mufu Mountain, Nanjing

Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge

Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge is China’s first double-decked road-rail truss bridge across the Yangtze River, and it was the third bridge over the Yangtze after the Wuhan Yangtze River Bridge and the Chongqing Baishatuo Yangtze River Bridge. Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge was put into operation in 1968. Its upper deck is a highway spanning 4,589 metres, and its lower deck is a 6,772-metre-long double-track railway. The length of the main structure of the bridge is 1,577 metes, with 9 piers and 10 holes.

Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge

Laoshan National Forest Park

Laoshan National Forest Park is located in the northwestern suburbs of Nanjing, on the north bank of the Yangtze River. With a total area of 8,040 hectares and a forest coverage rate of 90%, it is known as “Nanjing’s Green Lung” and a “Natural Oxygen Bar”. The park has steep mountains, towering ancient trees, green bamboo and wonderful scenery, and it is extremely rich in natural and cultural resources including 726 kinds of plants and 242 kinds of animals. In addition, Laoshan Mountain produces many native products, such as agrocybe cylindracea, black fungus, ticholoma matsutake, hickories and pecans.

Laoshan National Forest Park, Nanjing

Laoshan National Forest Park is a leisure and recreation resort characterized by eco-tourism and it includes forest rustic charm, leisure and recreation, and health sports. The main attractions in the park include the Bird’s Garden, the Snake Science Garden, the Laoying Mountain Watchtower, the First Jinling Drum, and the Number One Scholar Square. Recreational attractions include the Crazy Stones, the World of Warcraft, the High-altitude Strop, and Grass Skiing, etc.

Niushou Mountain

“Niushou Mountain in Spring” and “Qixia Mountain in Autumn” are renowned all over China. Located in the southern suburbs of Nanjing, Niushou Mountain is commonly known as “Ox-head Mountain” because its two prominent peaks are like a pair of ox horns. With beautiful scenery such as undulating ridges and peaks, and rugged rocks, Niushou Mountain has been a renowned tourist attraction since ancient times. For those who want a pleasant spring hike, Niushou Mountain is a perfect choice.

Niushou Mountain Forest Park, Nanjing

Covering a total area of 933 hectares, the Niushou Mountain Forest Park consists of many mountains and hills including Niushou Mountain, Zutang Mountain, East and West Tianmu Ridges, and Yinlong Mountain. The main attractions of the park include Hongjue Temple, Hongjue Temple Pagoda, Zheng He’s Tomb, and the Ruins of Yue Fei’s Anti-Jin Fortress, and so on. While looking into the distance from the top of the mountain, you can enjoy a panoramic view of the scenery along the Yangtze River, and the charming scenery of Nanjing.

Yangtze River Avalokitesvara Scenic Area

Located in the hinterland of the Muyan Binjiang Scenic Belt, the Yangtze River Avalokitesvara Scenic Area is near the Yangtze River, and backs on Mufu Mountain. Wu Daozi, a famous painter of the Tang Dynasty, painted a picture of Avalokitesvara enshrined here, hence the name. The scenic area consists of the Avalokitesvara Pavilion, Toutai Cave, Ertai Cave, Santai Cave, and so on. It is China’s first Avalokitesvara culture scenic area along the Yangtze River.

Yangtze River Avalokitesvara Scenic Area, Nanjing

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