Nanjing's Unique Palace

Written by Mr. DANIEL OTERO Feb 7, 2013 20:47
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Those secrets and desires are things that we always want and wish we could have. In the art of discovery, like detective work, nothing is ever complete and unlike other places I’ve visited in my life, Nanjing is incomplete. This beautiful City holds records as the top best four places to live in China.  It’s one of oldest in the world, then holding a unique record as one of the Imperial Capitals of middle Kingdom and after [that] are the gorgeously trimmed temples and later the palaces which are layered across this town. where to start and end? Nanjing is that, like a lovely older woman, always well dressed in her silk dress and never revealing secrets too quickly.  Since, you have to get to know her before you can discover all of her attractive qualities. Therefore, can we talk today about the palaces or the palace which conquered my heart…

It was almost by surprise the discovery. I’ve to admit I didn’t know anything about it, out of the typical landmarks and tourist traps in Nanjing. My guide and I took local bus 97 and transferred to number 10 across town, from east to west. Waiting with my typical petulance and impatience [which was never my strong suit], I looked and looked, voicing, “where’s the bloody thing?” About five stops into the #10 journey, I saw her majestically on top of the mountain. It was there in all ‘her’ glory.  ‘She’ is sexy, big and I wanted ‘her’!  I asked and later came to know this place as “Lion Mountain”. Today’s extraordinary adventure was the Yuejiang Tower and the Nanjing Wall. How attractive, it was a site to look and hold in for a couple of minutes. 

Asking if we should take the elevator for 3 RMB, in my typical western laziness, my guide said, ‘No!’ It’s only a 15 minute walk uphill.  We got our tickets (40 RMB each/$6.37 USD) and began our climb! 

Wanting more, we decided to climb these impressive steps. Just majestic, as the Palace comes to view in a layer of multicolored-Chinese arches! From bottom to top, "Lion Mountain” is 78 metres in height. The structure itself is seven stories or 52 metres. From a distance, it’s just a passionate view. Capturing the eye…  One with the sounds and views of birds chirping, trees decorate side to side and pagodas give way to a great entrance, overwhelming! As the approach continued and quickened, my counting was off. One only counts five stories. But I thought the guide said ‘seven’?  Damn it, where is the rest! Behind the structure, there is a walk down. This explains where the two stories have gone, down a flight of stairs two levels below.  Here’s the moment to penetrate into the building! 

Once inside, just the magnificence, with the first story holding the secrets of the Ming Dynasty and the Emperor’s article scrolled across the wall. Then, by the second story, is the beautifully exposed-tiled wall, telling the story of the Dynasty and that of China’s. One feels captured by this place, conquered to say the least. The ceilings are just spectacular, with tea lights illuminating every multi-colored space! As one climbs, one can see the methods of construction explained and stones and wood placed in museum like cases. 

There after comes another treasure, one of Zheng He’s model ships. The famous admiral was already discovering and traveling across the world 110 years before Columbus’ first voyage set sail. 

The top is even grander, while getting a view of Nanjing in 360 degrees, showing off the Yangtze River, the Wall, temples and Nanjing’s other marvels. There was another discovery, at least for me it was that way; Yuejiang Tower is one of the four famous palaces in all of China. The others are across the country: Jiangan’s Yellow Crane Tower, Tenwang Pavilion and Yueyang Tower. 

The idea for the building began with Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang in 1374. like many great works of art, its completion came in 2001 when it was opened to the public.  Located on the Northwestern side of the City, Yuejiang Tower has also the 4As. In other words, considered one of the top places to travel in China; looking further, it can be considered one of the most gorgeous palaces in the whole of this country!

Coming down from the tower is just another treat!  It’s like the Tower that keeps on giving, with further views of the skyline, paths and romantic walkways for people to also enjoy the Wall.

Opinion and how to get there:
The compliments are multiple as they are many! In my opinion, well worth the 40 RMB, I would even call it a little underpriced for such magnificence. I’ve been to places in Nanjing too overpriced, that didn’t have the ‘flash and bang’ for the senses, which this Tower had. I mean, it impacts the soul and captures the visitor in its unique beauty and architecture. The Tower is a must when living or visiting the City! It should be priority number one! 

For those whom are not local or people that don’t know the City well, the best way to reach Yuejiang Tower is through line 1 of the Metro. Take exit 4 and continue to the right until reaching the first bus stop. Look at the sign, there should be a number 10 bus. It runs every couple of minutes. You can reach the site in five to six stops. Buses cost an average of 2 RMB ($0.32 USD) and subway up to 4 RMB ($0.64 USD) in Nanjing. 
"Lion Mountain” has two main entrances, one is presently under construction. This should be your fifth stop. For now continue on the bus until reaching the stop closest to the Nanjing Wall. Hours are from 0700 to 1730 hours and a visit little more than an hour when touring the grounds. You can’t go wrong! The Tower can be easily seen from the bus! Do take care and enjoy this great wonder of China!     

 More Nanjing Travel Reviews
1. Nanking Nanking! QI_JIAN from China Feb 2, 2010 20:28
2. Trip to Nanjing IKECHI from NG Aug 28, 2009 18:56
3. Soaking up History: Zhongshan National Park LEMONCACTUS from CN May 7, 2008 01:45
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