The capital of the Jiangsu province of China, Nanjing is located a couple hundred miles west of Shanghai. Its Chinese name means Southern Capital, the result of the Ming Dynasty Emperor Yongle moved the imperial capital to Beijing, giving it its current name. Originally a proud and grand city, it slowly deteriorated in two centuries of war and sieges, it lost most of its city walls in various battles against the imperialists, the Qing army, and the Japanese.

It was originally a very prosperous city, a provincial capital overlooking its vast and wealthy provinces, where wheat, rice and silk are produced in large quantities. The scenery isn't bad either, with the Yellow River on one side and mountains on the other. But as a strategic region in central China, power was passed around like candy from various rulers vying for a slice of the China pie.

In the 19th century, it was the HQ of a rebel faction which nearly toppled the Qing Dynasty, consuming Southern China in warfare. Helped by imperialist powers, the Qing crushed this rebellion and destroyed much of Nanjing (the foreigners liked a weak China, the rebels were quite anti-foreign). And then the Japanese came, the Rape of Nanjing, which claimed over 300,000 lives.

Recently, the city has been restored, it pales in comparison to Shanghai now, but it is still an important agricultural and trade city. Nanjing has many sights to see, it was the home of the famed poets Li Po and Bai Juyi. In addition, Nanjing has several imperial relics, temples, towers and other stuff.

Nanjing also has a rich modern history. Zhou Enlai lived here, Sun Yat-Sen's mausoleum is located in the eastern part of the city. The Purple and Gold Mountains provided much of the inspiration to the poets mentioned above, and is worth a walk.

Nanjing cuisine is middle Chinese, different from the oily seafood fare of Shanghai. Very nice, lots of wheat-based dishes. Nanjing makes a nice detour from urban Shanghai.

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