My 5: Sun Yat-Sen Mausoleum – Nanjing, China.

Sun Yat-Sen Mausoleum Purple Mountain Nanjing China

1. October 2018. It’s funny how us westerners know all about Chairman Mao but it when comes to Dr. Sun Yat-Sen most folk have never even heard of him, let alone able to reel off a few facts from his hugely important contribution to Chinese history. Fondly tagged The Father Of The Nation, Sun Yat-Sen was China’s first Republic President, a man who helped overthrow The Qing Dynasty and introduce a new political philosophy known as The Three Principles of the People: Nationalism, Rights & Livelihood. Today visitors from all over the country come to this spectacularly located mausoleum to pay their respects.

Sun Yat-Sen Mausoleum Purple Mountain Nanjing China

2. October 2018. The mausoleum is located deep in the heart of Zhongshan National Park at the foot of Purple Mountain. Pass through a number of grand gates and tree-lined walkways before tackling this breathless 392-step staircase to the top. My visit came during China’s frenetic Golden Week National Holiday, so the place was packed with people. Thankfully though, the mausoleum complex is so massive it didn’t feel anywhere near as crazy as The Presidential Palace and there were no demotivating queues, as with Nanjing Massacre Memorial.

Sun Yat-Sen Mausoleum Purple Mountain Nanjing China

3. October 2018. Sun Yat-Sen died of liver cancer in 1925 at just 58 years old. He had always expressed a wish to be buried in Nanjing, the ancient capital in which he’d lived and served as president, though many historians insist he wouldn’t have approved of a grand, expensive mausoleum in his name. Construction began in 1926 and took just under three years to complete. His remains in Beijing were then transferred to Nanjing and laid to rest in the sacrificial hall at the top of the stairs.

Sun Yat-Sen Mausoleum Purple Mountain Nanjing China

4. October 2018. The views at the top really are wondrous. Once you’ve got your breath back it’s time to enter the hall, where photography is strictly forbidden. The Chinese characters above the entrance and exit arches read “of the people, by the people, for the people”. A huge statue of the great man dominates the hall and you are encouraged to keep moving all the way around. The sarcophagus itself lies out of view behind a set of closed doors.

Sun Yat-Sen Mausoleum Purple Mountain Nanjing China

5. October 2018. God forgive me for doing the selfie thing at a place like this. I didn’t want to I promise, but Jaylin was very keen, all the cool kids were doing it and.. well you know, when in Rome… It’s free to visit Sun Yat-Sen Mausoleum, but only if you pre-book a ticket online by providing your ID. Otherwise, a general admission ticket to Zhongshan National Park is needed, which goes for 100RMB (£11/€12.50/$14.50). The mausoleum part of the park is open daily (except Mondays) from 08:30-17:00.

Like this? Check out my many other pieces from around Nanjing.

Want to delve further afield? Why not tap into my stacks of articles from across China.

Leighton Literature travel reports short stories travel blogger


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Freelance travel writer, voice over and English teacher from London. Former music and film journalist, interviewer of the stars. Passionate about travel, film, music, football, Indian food.

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