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At first sight Nanjing is simply another bustling modern Chinese city, but under the surface the weight of its history is still in evidence, just as parts of the Ming Dynasty wall still defiantly stand around the city edges.

The tomb of Sun Yat-sen, China’s first president, is a place of pilgrimage for the Chinese, and the city also boasts the unexcavated tomb of the first Ming Emperor.


Perhaps the major reason to visit is to learn about Nanjing’s short-lived and bitter experience as China’s capital, with the Japanese invasion portrayed in harrowing detail at the Nanjing Massacre Memorial, and the insight into the civil war to be found at the former Communist party headquarters and the Presidential Palace.

The annual sounding of the air raid sirens to commemorate the start of the Japanese invasion ties Nanjing to a somber past that casts a shadow over Chinese society to this day.

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