Ancient Capital for Six Dynasties

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Many visitors only pass through handsome Nanjing when traveling from Shanghai to Beijing, but the capital of Jiangsu, lying on the lower stretches of the Yangzi River, boasts a rich and impressive historical heritage. It's also one of the cleanest and best-looking cities in China.

Linggu Temple Scenic Area

This expansive temple complex contains one of the most historic buildings in Nanjing – the Beamless Hall, built in 1381 entirely out of brick and stone and containing no beam supports. Buildings during the Ming dynasty were normally constructed of wood, but timber shortages meant that builders had to rely on the brick. The structure has a vaulted ceiling and a large stone platform where Buddhist statues once sat.

Sun Yatsen Mausoleum

An astonishing sight at the top of an enormous stone stairway, Sun Yatsen's tomb is a mandatory stop for Chinese visitors. Reverentially referred to as Guofu, Dr Sun is esteemed by both communists and Kuomintang. He died in Beijing in 1925, and had wished to be buried in Nanjing, no doubt with far less pomp than the Ming-style tomb his successors fashioned for him. Within a year of his death, however, construction of this mausoleum began.

Nanjing Museum

This fabulous museum had a massive and lavish expansion in 2013 with a brand new, dramatically modern exhibition block added next to its traditional, temple-style hall. All sleekly designed with lashings of marble and wood, alluring displays abound: from Jiangsu landscape painting, ancient calligraphy to sculpture and much more. Look out for two magnificent Han dynasty jade burial suits among treasures from a royal mausoleum.

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