The city of Nanjing is the capital of Jiangsu province located some 300 km or 190 miles north west of Shanghai, 1,200 km or 750 miles south of Beijing and 1,400 km or 870 miles to the east of Chongqing.
The name ‘Nanjing’ when literally translated means ‘Southern Capital,’ in the past it has been known as both Nankin and Nanking although these two forms are rarely used within the modern world. Nanjing is regarded as being one of the ‘Four Great Capitals of Ancient China’ and its strategic location along the lower reaches of the Yangtze River drainage basin makes it an important centre for the region’s economic zone as well as a leading centre of culture and learning.
Its ties culturally and historically have led to the city becoming a national centre for education, research, tourism and transport. Nanjing will also be the host city for the 2014 Summer Youth Olympics.
With a population greater than five million as of 2006 (the latest figures available), Nanjing is second only to Shanghai as the largest commercial centre in China’s Eastern region. It also ranks in the same position for sustainable development within the area of the Yangtze River Delta.
Nanjing, along with the cities of Chongqing and Wuhan, is often referred to as one of the Yangtze River’s three ‘furnace like’ cities due to the excessively hot and humid temperatures during the summer months. Despite the heat of the summer rainfall is a regular and often welcome experience.
The abundance of more than 40 different minerals makes the city and its surrounding area rich in natural resources. Iron and sulphur account for more than 40 per cent of that taken from Jiangsu province. The natural reserves of strontium available in the area are the highest in the South East and East Asia regions. As well as the water available in abundance from the Yangtze River there are also plentiful supplies of groundwater as well as hot springs in Jiangning and Pukou.
The Yangtze River has been an important transportation artery serving east-west for centuries. The railway north to Beijing and south east to Shanghai as well as improvements to the road network has led to the city being an important transportation centre. Surrounded by mountains, the river and beautiful natural scenery such as Xuanwu and Mochou lakes all within easy access to the city it is hard to imagine some of the atrocities that have fallen on those residents here in its past and relatively recent history.
The Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall is one of the city’s attractions into its past, this one opened in 1985 commemorates the victims of the Second Sino-Japanese War which began in 1937. Other attractions include the 14th century city wall, at the time it was built was the longest city wall in the world, and what remains today is the world’s longest surviving city wall.