The first time I met him was in Guangzhou. He stood there in bronze, but I had no idea who he was. The second time I came across his name in Chinatown Montreal. There was a square named after him. Then Sun Yat-sen must have been an important person, right?
And indeed, because Sun-Yat-sen (1866-1925) is seen as the father of modern China! And you can visit him in Nanjing at the foot of Mount Zijin, the purple mountain. Because there is his mausoleum. But why is Sun Yat-sen such an important person in Chinese history?
Nanjing: Ancient capital with an interesting history
If you want to find out more about Chinese history, you should go to Nanjing. This city of 8 million inhabitants has a number of important historical sights. There is the mausoleum of Ming Xiaoling, the founder of the Ming dynasty (1368-1644). And of course from Sun Yat-sen! Both can be visited at Mount Zijin.
Nanjing also has the oldest university from 258. And in 1937 a massacre took place when the Japanese murdered 200,000 inhabitants. That too has left its mark on the history of Nanjing.
And finally the museum of Nanjing. Absolutely a must if you are here. Big, special and it houses a rich collection of historical objects. Tibetan clocks, Chinese porcelain, drawings and so on. Take a couple of hours to rest, because the museum has many rooms.
Nanjing has always been an important trading city. It is close to Shanghai and many foreign companies like to establish themselves here. It is a modern city and is considered one of the best cities to live in. On my way to Nanjing I would say…
Hostel: In Nanjing I stayed in 2 hostels, both at someone’s house. Both are hard to find in an apartment building on the 25th floor. These are no longer on booking, but at someone’s home I found quite a challenge (in terms of language).
Purple mountain and Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum
Mount Zijin, or the purple mountain lies east of Nanjing. This place has many sights and a whole day’s stay here is a great success. But I decided to go specifically to the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum. The reason his mausoleum is in Nanjing is that he wanted it himself. And after the fall of the emperor Sun Yat-sen ruled as the first president of the new China from Nanjing. Sun Yat-sen, a politician so …
Sun Yat-sen: First president of the new China
Sun Yat-sen (1866-1925) is seen as the Father of the Patriot in both China and Taiwan. He was born in the southeast of China in a poor peasant family. His brother managed to get a good job and regularly sent money to the family. This even allowed Sun Yat-sen to attend a boarding school in Hawaii.
After that he studied western medicine in Hong Kong. It was the first time that he came into contact with Western influences. For years he had a medical practice, but he was not satisfied with the then emperor and the Qing dynasty. Protesting and taking action became his motto. And he soon got a large following at home and abroad.
At the beginning of the 20th century he was seen as the most important figure in the revolt against the imperial authority. It finally led to the fall of the emperor in 1911. China became a republic and Sun Yat-sen became the first president of China. But that turned out to be short-lived.
Disunity, quarrels and internal disputes in Chinese politics meant that he soon had to flee. In 1925 he died in Beijing and a mausoleum was built for him in Nanjing. Despite his brief role as president, the Chinese saw him as the father of the country. But why?
If the idea of revolution is to win out, it must be through political enlightenment. It is useless to try to impose it by force of arms.SUN YAT-SEN
3 Principles: Nationalism, Peoples livelihood and Democracy
Sun Yat-sen was inspired by the way Western powers functioned. Converted to Christianity, Sun Yat-sen thought that China should become a republic based on the Western model.
He introduced 3 principles. The same rights should apply to everyone in China (nationalism). Each person was allowed to have their own possessions (popular prosperity) and the leader of China had to be elected (democracy). This was innovative for the time and soon earned him the title of Father of the Netherlands.
History: the flag of Taiwan consists of 3 colours. Each colour represents one of the three principles of Sun Yat-sen
Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum: 400 steps
The mausoleum is located at the foot of the purple mountain, a 20-minute walk from the metro station. Upon arrival I arrange a ticket, something that should be done online. But my knowledge of the Chinese language unfortunately stops at ‘nihao’ (hello!) Luckily a ticket for me is neatly arranged at the desk.
Few tourists you’ll meet here. At least, I came across two of them. And of course a lot of Chinese, because if you are here you have to visit the Father of the China? The climb to the mausoleum has 400 steps, so let’s start…
The final resting place of the first president of China is impressive. Lots of marble and of course pictures and a statue. Follow the route and you will end up in a small room. There lies the good man laid out in a closed grave. Within 30 seconds you will be outside again. Finally, the view of Nanjing is beautiful. Although this is a bit disappointing due to the rainy weather and the many concrete flats that form the skyline in almost every Chinese city.
It is highly recommended to visit this place. Sun Yat-sen has left a great mark on Chinese history. It was a period of total change.
When visiting the mausoleum, do not expect signs with information in English. But fortunately you have this page for that!
Planning a visit to the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum in Nanjing, China?
Nanjing, or Nanking, is about 3 hours by train northwest of Shanghai. With subway line 2 you get off at stop Xiamafang and it is about a 20 minute walk to the entrance of the mausoleum. In general, a ticket must be purchased in advance. Only 10,000 people are admitted per day. At the entrance there is a desk where they can help you with a ticket (with time lock). I was lucky to be able to continue immediately.
Besides the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum, Mount Zijin (purple mountain) has other sights. Here you will find the mausoleum of Ming Xiaoling, the first emperor of the Ming dynasty (1368-1644). There is a botanical garden and there are several temples to visit, of which the Linggu temple is best known. A day trip to this important Chinese mountain and its monuments is highly recommended!
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