Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedin

Exploring the History of Nanjing | 南京的历史探索之旅

Written by & Photos by (作者, 图片来源): Vincent R. Vinci 魏文深

Editor’s Note: Every other month, we’ll be traveling to a new location – in and around China – for a look at its history. We’ll also provide a list of recommended reading materials at the end of each article for you to get more depth out of these amazing spots. This month, we start with Nanjing, provincial capital of Jiangsu and former capital of the Republic of China. (Recommended Reading can be found at the end of the article).

History is alive for those who seek it. Walking through the wide avenues and streets of the capital of Jiangsu Province, the history of a capital besieged is all around. Streets where self-proclaimed kings once presided over a pseudo-Christian society, streets once bombarded and blown to bits by invading foreign armies. Despite being an open book for those interested in some of the more turbulent moments in Chinese history, Nanjing today is a city at peace, with the only invading armies being the tourists and families that flocked here for Chinese New Year.

The city has been an on-and-off capital for various dynasties – especially the capital of the State of Eastern Wu from 229-280 and under various kingdoms in the Northern and Southern Dynasties Period (420-589) – but it wasn’t until the beginning of the Ming Dynasty when the Hongwu Emperor rebuilt the city and named it the capital of the entire country in 1368.

Although the capital was relocated to Beijing under the Yongle Emperor in 1421, Nanjing became a capital once again in 1853, when it was taken by the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom and renamed Tianjing (Heavenly Capital). With the fall of the Taiping in 1864, it wasn’t until the Xinhai Revolution in 1911 that the city was chosen again as the provisional capital of the nation, this time under the flag of the Republic of China.

Nanjing’s final days as the capital of China came in 1927, when Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, who had risen to prominence in the ruling Nationalist Party, chose it as the government’s seat of power in the Republic of China. It remained the capital until the Nationalists fled to Taiwan following their ousting by the Communist Party in 1949. The city has seen much throughout its long history, and it is these events – from its razing at the onset of the Sui Dynasty, to its capture by the British in 1842 and later the Imperial Japanese Army in 1937 – that have shaped Nanjing to be what it is today. Even though the history of the southern capital has been neatly relocated into museums and parks to make way for the progress that has taken most big cities in China, history can still be felt in the streets and busy thoroughfares for those who look for it.

Perhaps the best place to find a crossroads of history is the Presidential Palace. The palace, which is very much a modern version of the Forbidden City, has been around for over 600 years in various incarnations. During the Qing Dynasty it served as the Office of the Viceroy of Liangjiang before the city fell into the hands of the Taiping Rebels.

The Taiping Heavenly Kingdom

Vincent-Vinci---_DSC3377

The Taiping Heavenly Kingdom was a religious and political movement led by Xiuquan Hong, son of a Hakka farmer in Guangdong who, after a failed attempt at passing a provincial civil service exam and exposure to Christian texts, suffered a nervous breakdown and dreamed that he was the younger brother of Jesus Christ. After rallying his relatives and nearby villages to his pseudo-Christian movement, his army ignited a rebellion in 1851 and found themselves within the walls of Nanjing by 1853, where they built a grand palace where the presidential complex stands today.

Vincent-Vinci---_DSC3147

The only remnants of the grand Palace of the Heavenly King are a replica of Hong’s immaculate golden crane-flanked throne and a study room and bed chamber for his concubines, located in the bowels of the complex that stands today. There is also an imposing statue of Hong situated between models of his former village and an explanation (in Chinese with English titles only) of the Taiping Rebellion’s sweep across the land.

Modern Times

The rest of Hong’s palace was burned to the ground by the Qing in 1864 and reconstructed as offices for the governor-general of the province built in neoclassical style in 1870. It wasn’t until 42 years later that the new palace, with its tan modest buildings done up in a mixed Western and Chinese style with hallways of red pillars complimented by more with tan and white flowing columned halls, would see the swearing in of Sun Yat-sen as the provisional president during the Xinhai Revolution of 1912.

Occupied once again by the Nationalist government under Chiang Kai-shek in 1927, the architecture becomes monolithic and more brutal in nature, yet at peace with the surrounding palace. Walking through the menacing grey and tan structures with their plain offices, one could feel them come to life. The hustle and bustle of running a nation in tumultuous times fully realized if one tones out the sound of tourists milling about.

It is hard to leave this large and foreboding complex, portraits of Sun flanked by various flags of the Republic over every entryway, gardens and hallways building a maze in this modern-day palace with each corner and turn lending new understanding to the capital and its past.

The Mausoleum

The city is filled with countless other sites, like the ruins of the old Ming Palace, the reconstructed city wall – a true rip off at 50 RMB per person – and other places of significance, but for those short on time and looking to get a great view of Nanjing and visit the resting place of a key figure in China’s history should definitely make a pilgrimage to the Mausoleum of Sun Yat-sen. The mausoleum began construction in 1926 and was finished 3 years later, with Su n’ s body finally laid to rest in 1929, over looking the city where he served as provisional president, where dreams of a Chinese Republic had started to take shape. Sun Yat-sen holds a special place in Chinese people’s hearts, as could be evidenced by the ungodly crowds we were met with that day, with traffic infested roads leading to people infested pathways. All the way to the top was an endless river of people, bubbling voices slowly pushing to get there, take some selfies and leave.

Vincent-Vinci---_DSC4966

It is difficult to tell if we were the only ones in this river in awe of the site before us. Gates topped with blue tiled roofs echoing the blue of the sky topping mellow tan walls with dark copper gates. The Entrance gates, on which the words Bo’ai stand prominent, lead to the first hall in which an epitaph to the nation stands. Beyond this lies over 200 steps up to the Sacrificial Hall, in which Sun’s body rests. Inside he sits below the flag of the Nationalist Party, immortalized in traditional frog-buttoned robes reading a manuscript. Behind the statue was a hall – closed for the day due to crowds – in which a marble coffin holds the man’s remains.

Sun, born in 1866 in Guangdong, saw the problems with China under feudal rule and sought to change it with the Xinhai Revolution and the establishment of the Republic of China in 1912. His story ended with tragedy, as after stepping down from his role as provisional president, his successor, Yuan Shikai, proclaimed himself emperor and ushered in the Warlord Era, plunging the country into chaos once again. Yet, this monument to his struggle remains, positioning him as the Father of Modern China, a man whose dreams of a democratic republic were never fully realized.

Thoughts on this stay in this former capital were meaningful, gazing through the green quiet pines of Purple Mountain to the smoggy city below, the besieged city is alive with history, a birthplace of some of the most interesting times in China’s history.

每个月,我们都会去一个中国境内或周边的地方旅游,探寻其历史。我们也会在文章后面提供一些推荐读物,以便读者深入了解这些奇妙的地点。这个月,我们首先去了南京。它既是江苏省省会,也是中国的六朝古都。

对于探索历史的人来说,它是鲜活的。走在南京的大街小巷,到处都是历史的痕迹。这些街道曾是自立为王的人统领伪基督教会的据点,这些街道曾经被外国侵略者的炮火轰炸得破败不堪。尽管在那些对中国历史上的动荡时期感兴趣的人看来,南京是一本活的历史教科书,但现在的南京一片祥和,只有成群的游客像入侵的军队一般在春节假期拖家带口地

蜂拥而至。

南京曾是中国多个朝代的都城。公元229-280年的三国时期,东吴在此建都,称为建业(282年改建邺)。此后,南北朝时期(公元420-589年),东晋、宋、齐、梁、陈相继在此建都。隋朝时期(公元581-618年),整个国家处于分裂状态,南京失去了其作为国都的地位。1368年,朱元璋建立明朝,以南京为京师,并对它进行重建,改名为应天府。

1 4 2 1 年,明成祖朱棣将都城迁回北京。1853年,太平军攻克南京,建立太平天国,改称天京,建都11年。1864年,太平天国运动失败后,首都不复存在,直到1911年辛亥革命爆发,中华民国成立,定都南京。

南京最后一次作为首都是在1927年,蒋介石建立南京国民政府,定南京为首都,一直到1949年中国大陆被共产党占领,国民党逃到台湾。

这座城市见证了很多历史变革,也正是这些事件— —从隋朝时期的崛起到1842年和1937年分别被英国和日本帝国军队侵略——把南京打磨成今天的样子。如同多数中国大城市,为了推进现代化建设,南京的文物古迹几乎都被转移到了博物馆和公园里,但对于真正想寻找历史的人来说,大街小巷仍有迹可寻。

想要找到通往历史的十字路口,最好的去处可能就是总统府了。这座像是现代版紫禁城的府邸已经有600多年的历史了。清朝时期,在太平军占领南京之前,这里曾被辟为两江总督署。

太平天国

太平天国运动是一场由广东客家人洪秀全领导的宗教和政治运动。在道光年间屡应科举不中继而翻阅基督徒梁发的《劝世良言》一书后,洪秀全把书中的内容与自己大病时的幻觉对比,认为自己是上帝的二儿子、耶稣的弟弟,受上帝之命下凡诛妖。之后,洪秀全逢人便宣传他所理解的基督教教义,以致于他的亲戚及附近的村民都开始信仰他的“拜上帝教”

。1851年,洪秀全发动金田起义,建国号太平天国,并于1853年定都南京。

天朝宫殿历史陈列馆以天王宝座、书房、后宫、机密房等模拟景观,再现了天朝宫殿的昔日辉煌;此外,洪秀全在广东、广西、湖北等地居住过的几处建筑遗存模型,展示了太平天国的发展和演变的历史轨迹。展览还陈列了一些文物图片资料,反映了太平天国在天京的一些历史事件。

近代

随着洪秀全的死和太平天国运动的失败,湘军在186 4年将整个府邸烧成平地。1870年,在原址上重建了新古典风格的两江总督署。直到42年之后,这府邸才转手他人。1912年辛亥革命期间,孙中山在总督府宣誓就任中国民国临时总统。

置身这座雄伟的建筑你会不舍离去,几乎在每一个入口和重要的房间内都有孙中山的画像,两侧立着不同时期的旗帜,花园和走廊把这座现代宫殿打造得如同迷宫一般,每一个转角都引领着你去见证这座都城的现在和过去。

1927年,蒋介石南京国民政府成立,总统府再次投入使用。这个时期,总统府新建了更加高大伟岸的黄褐色办公楼。穿行其间,它们都变得生动起来,如果屏蔽掉游客的嘈杂声,你能够感受到在喧嚣时代治理一个国家的忙碌。

中山陵

这座城市的名胜古迹数不胜数,例如世界上现存最长的古城墙明城墙(票价50元/人)和其他深具历史意义的地方。但是对于那些时间有限又想饱览南京美景参观历史遗址的人来说,最好去参拜中山陵。

中山陵于1926年开始建设,历时三年。竣工后,孙中山的遗体便安葬于此,俯瞰这个他曾宣誓担任临时总统的城市,守护这个把中国建设成民主国家的梦想开始成形的地方。去紫金山那天,路上车来车往、人山人海,可见中山陵在中国人心中的地位。整条山路上挤满了熙熙攘攘的人群,大家如同蜗牛一般慢吞吞地行进,好不容易抵达山顶之后,留下几

张自拍,再匆匆离开。

不知道我们是不是其中仅有的心存敬畏的人。青色琉璃瓦和国民党的青天白日相呼应,有天下为公之意。陵墓的入口位于最南端,石碑坊上镌刻着孙中山的手书“博爱”二字,亦称博爱坊。由博爱坊至陵门,分辟三道,先到碑亭,接下来就是200多级的石阶,通向祭堂。祭堂中央供奉着孙中山坐像,身着长袍马褂,手持一本长卷。中华民国和国民党的光辉正从上方照耀着这个伟人。虽然当天陵墓不对外开放,但祭堂后面就是墓门,孙中山的遗体就安葬在墓室中央的长形墓穴下面。

孙中山于1866年出生在广东,目睹了封建统治下的中国面临的许多问题,他领导了1911年的辛亥革命,推翻清朝统治,建立了中华民国。其间他曾担任临时大总统,但很快就辞去职务,让位于袁世凯。后来,袁世凯称帝引起军阀割据,混战不休。虽然孙中山的人生故事以悲剧结尾,但直到今天,他仍受人尊敬。他是中华民国之父,也是伟大的革命先行者。

我们的思绪翻飞。从紫金山的烟雾缭绕中俯瞰这座省会城市,它的历史是鲜活的,等待着人们去探索和揭秘中国历史上最有趣的时代。

Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall | 南京大屠杀纪念馆

Of all the places we wish we had gotten the chance to visit in the city, this was the biggest. A tribute to the 300,000 Chinese who were killed during the Japanese invasion and occupation of Nanjing during WWII in 1937 – infamously referred to as the Rape of Nanking – the hall has expansive outdoor exhibits, sheltered remains, and an exhibition area with historical documents and videos that chronicle the horrors of this disaster and remember those who were lost.

在南京所有的景点中,大屠杀纪念馆是我们最想去的。它是个向1937年二战期间日本侵略并攻占南京时被杀的30万中国同胞表示哀悼的地方,这场大屠杀也被称为南京梦魇。纪念馆分为广场陈列、遗骨陈列、史料陈列三大部分,静静地诉说着那段惨痛的历史,淋漓尽致地重现着当时的惨状。

Recommended Reading | 推荐读物

God’s Chinese Son: The Taiping Heavenly Kingdom of Hong Xiuquan | 《太平天国》

This wonderful read, penned by historian Jonathan D. Spence, meticulously follows the exploits of Hong Xiuquan, the Heavenly King of the Taiping Rebellion, providing a glimpse at the struggling society Hong was brought up in, rivalries and corruption that grew within his kingdom, and his untimely death and fall to the Qing. There’s also a trippy look at Hong’s crazy dreams that started his ordeal. Ever pictured God with golden hair, long nails, and black, dragon embroidered robes? We haven’t either.

这本精彩的读物由历史学家史景迁执笔,细致追寻洪秀全的功绩及太平天国起义,看一看洪秀全成长的那个斗争社会,竞争和腐败的滋生以及洪秀全的死和太平天国运动的终结。在这本书中还能看出洪秀全所受的折磨始于他疯狂的梦想。难道上帝曾被描述成金发、长指甲,还穿着黑色龙袍吗?反正我们是从来都没有。

The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II |《南京暴行——被遗忘的大屠杀》

This book by Iris Chang is perhaps the most recommended book on the massacre that shook China, highlighting the sadistic atrocities committed by the Imperial Japanese Army in Nanjing. With intensive survivor interviews and in-depth research, this book has often been noted as the definitive text on the Nanjing Massacre.

这本由张纯如撰写的书或许是最值得推荐的读物,记录了日本帝国军队在南京所犯的残忍暴行。作者实地采访多位大屠杀幸存者,并佐以大量历史档案、第三方当事人的日记和书信,多视角回溯了南京大屠杀这一被遗忘的历史事件。很多人认为此书是一部完整、全面了解南京大屠杀历史真相和前因后果的权威性著作。

Sun Yat-sen | 《孙中山》

As with all great leaders revered after their death, there is much myth and somewhat of a cult surrounding the founder of China’s Republic. Marie-Claire Bergere’s biography provides a balanced look at Sun Yatsen, painting a portrait of a man inspired by the West, an opportunist with sound but sometimes flawed ideas who dreamed of a better China.

正如所有伟大的领袖都在死后备受尊敬,人们对这位中华民国的建立者多少都带着点狂热和崇拜。玛丽•格莱尔•白吉尔的传记公正地看待孙中山,描绘了一个受西方启迪的人物,一个对如何建设更好的中国有着坚定但却仍有缺憾的梦想的机会主义者。

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedin