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Home Nanjing Attractions Qinhuai River Scenic Area Introduction

Qinhuai River Scenic Area Introduction


Qinhuai River is the largest river in Nanjing. It is comprised of the interior part and the exterior part with a total length over 110 kilometers. The interior section is located in downtown Nanjing and the highlights of Qinhuai River Scenic Area. Why is it named Qinhuai River? A story concerned with King Weiwang (楚威王, the king pushed Chu State to its peak) of Chu State during the warring states period. It was said that King Weiwang saw a large area of purple clouds (traditionally it symbolizes the auspiciousness and luck, and was depicted to be the surroundings of immortals, gods and great saints) arose in Jinling(the ancient name of Nanjing) during his eastward inspection. He took it as the air of emperor, and ordered the local to open the water to connect with Yangtze River. The later generation mistook this waterway was opened in Qin Dynasty. So it was called Qinhuai River.

qinhuai river scenic area

The History of Qinhuai River Scenic Area

Qinhuai River boasts the Mother River of Nanjing, as a branch of Yangtze River. Since Three Kingdoms Period (220-265), it was a quite busy and prosperous area for business and leisure with a large population.

In Southern Dynasties (420-589), Qinhuai River gradually became the residential area of many celebrities and dignitaries who mostly were forced to move to southern area because of the warfare among the Han nationality and north ethnic groups, which was a turmoil period that Hu Shi summarized to be the period of Wuhua Luanhua(五胡乱华, five north ethnic groups made central China in a mess). There were lots of hotels and restaurants on both sides, even 24 hours service made this area a sleepless area. The songs and dances performed on both sides, and thousands of boats and ships went and came on the river. In the record of history, this area was a land of romance. Many love stories came out.

Furthermore, Qinhuai river area was also the scholar’s meeting sites and party centers. The famous tourist attractions like Wuyi Alley, Zhuque Bridge and Taoye Ferry were all became the essences of Chinese poems. Especially, the region of Wuyi Alley used to be the residential region of Wang and Xie families, both of which were the most authoritative families controlling the government at the time.

qinhuai river scenic area
The Picturesque Night View of Qinhuai River Scenic Area

In the times of Sui and Tang Dynasties (581-907), Qinhuai River was still a center of leisure and literature in China. After that, it got declined gradually. Due to its declination, many a litterateur and scholar came here in memory of the history and the past, and it as well became a mark of ancient history in ancient China. In south Song Dynasty (1127-1279), a summit time of Confucianism, Jiangnan Gongyuan, the largest imperial examination center of ancient China, was established. Therefore, Qinhua River restored to be a center of Jiangnan culture.

In the period of Ming and Qing Dynasties (1368-1911), it was the most popular period of Qinhuai River Scenic Area. It is the business and amusement center of China. Beautiful singers and dancers, great performances, meetings of litterateurs and talents, and the endless show of cruises on the river weaved a dreamland of China. Especially on the special days like the lantern festival, there are tens of thousands of lanterns shown on the river, which was originated from Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang(朱元璋), the founder of Ming Dynasty, and then Qinhuai River in the 24 hours daytime. As the largest imperial examination center, there were 58 first winners (zhuangyuan) appeared, and the number covers 52% of the total in Qing Dynasty. The famous figures represented by Wu Chengen, Tang Bohu, Zhen Banqiao, Wu Jingci, Weng Tonghe and Zhang Jian

The Highlights of Qinhuai River Scenic Area

The highlights of Qinhuai River Scenic Area include the large ancient architectural clusters on both sides of the river and the dreamlike night view, which highly features the ten-mile lantern show, especially on the Lantern Festival. As the assemble site of distinguished people, Qinhuai River is famous for China’s No.1 historic and cultural river. The sightseeing highlights of Qinhuai River is famous for its lantern boats, it is absolutely released in Zhu Ziqing’s (1898—1948) famous prose - Qinhuai River in the Oaring Sound and Light Shadow

Qinhuai River Scenic Area centers on Fuzimiao(Confucius Temple), including Zhanyuan Garden, Fuzimiao, Bailuzhou, Zhonghua Gate as well as the comprehensive scenery from Taoye Ferry to Zhenhuai Bridge. The details of tourist attractions in Qinhuai River Scenic Area hereinafter:

Zhanyuan Garden(瞻园) – located on the west side of Confucius Temple, was a private garden in Xu Da’s Mansion, who was a great marshal and contributor to the foundation of Ming Dynasty. In the time of Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, it was the mansion of Yang Xiuqing, the east king of this short-life regime. Zhanyuan is a famous classic garden in east China for its delicate layout and rockery. There are three unique huge rockeries inherited from Ming Dynasty. It is one of two most classic gardens in Nanjing, and the other is Xuyuan Garden or Xu Garden(煦园). In Qing Dynasty, it became the temporary stay site of Emperor Qianlong.

Nanjing Confucius Temple Mingyuan Tower of Jiangnan Gongyuan
Nanjing Xuyuan Garden Nanjing Zhanyuan Garden
Zhonghua Gate Taoye Ferry

Confucius Temple(夫子庙) – locally known as Fuzimiao, originally is the site to offer sacrifice to Confucius. Confucius Temple was built in 1034 located on the north side of Qinhuai River. It makes full of Qinhuai River as its Panchi(泮池, the substantial part of traditional Confucius temple or national &imperial educational center). And its Zhaobi (照壁, a traditional and philosophical decoration to the family mansion) is located on the south side of the river. Juxing Pavilion(聚星亭) and Sile Pavilion(思乐亭) are located on front of the temple. The main buildings like lingxing Gate, Dacheng Gate, Mingde Hall, Dacheng Hall and Zunjing Pavilion are all located on the axes. The whole building complex was resurfaced in 1985. The surrounding houses and stores were all rebuilt in the style of architecture in Ming and Qing Dynasties. There are more than 200 kinds of food available over there.

Mingyuan Tower (明远楼, Tower of Having a Great Insight) – is the most important building of Jiangnan Gongyuan, or Jiangnan Imperial Examination Center. Originally used to be the site to monitor the imperial examination, Mingyuan Tower has three floors and has a square look. In accordance with the record of the Stele Inscription of Gong Yuan, this tower was built in 1534, and it has roughly 500 years of history. In China, it is also the oldest building for imperial examination.

Wuyi Alley(乌衣巷, The Alley of Black Clothes) – located on the south of Wende Bridge, and also the south side of Qinhuai River. Originally served as the station of army of Wu Kingdom of Three Kingdoms Period, and due to the soldiers and officers all wore the black clothes, it was called Wuyixiang. As the time goes, it turned to be the residential center of many aristocrats and lords. In East Jin Dynasty (317-420), Wang Family and Xie Family together administrated the whole government, and both families also settled down in Wuyixiang. And their children and grandchildren were called Wuyilang(乌衣郎)

Zhonghua Gate(中华门) – Zhonghua Gate or China Gate is the south gate of Capital of Ming Dynasty. In Ming and Qing Dynasties, it was also called Jubao Gate. Among the gates of Nanjing, it is the grandest one, and also the largest and most complete gate with fortress-style town outside the city gate throughout China. Its design and functionality setting have a great influence in history of Chinese architecture.

Bailuzhou Park (白鹭洲公园)– a park themed with bridges, there are more than 15 bridges with different styles like the single-hole bridge, tri-hole bridge, seven-hole bridge and four angles double-eave pavilion-style bridge. Historically called East Garden, Xu Zhongshan Garden and Xu Taifu Garde, it was originally the east garden of mansion of Xu Da. In 1976, it was restored and opened.

Taoye Ferry(桃叶渡, Peach Leaf Ferry) - Taoye Ferry is ancient site on the Qinhuai River, and also the famous historic site of Nanjing. Taoye Ferry is closely connected with a love story between Wang Xianzhi(王献之, a son of Wang Xizhi and a famous calligraphist in East Jin Dynasty) and his beloved concubine named Taoye. Taoye needed to cross Qinhuai River frequently, and Wang Xizhi worried about her safety, and escorted her coming and going. And composed a song named Song of Taoye –

桃叶复桃叶 – Taoye, my Taoye!
渡江不用楫 – You don’t go across the river by oar
但渡无所苦 – But the crossing is not hard at all
我自迎接汝 – I warmly meet you at the ferry.

Since then, this ferry was changed to be Taoye Ferry.

Eight Beauties Living in Qinhuai River Scenic Area

Gu Hengbo Dong Xiaowan Bian Yujing Li Xiangjun
Kou Baimen Ma Xianglan Liu Rushi Chen Yuanyuan

Eight beauties of Qinhuai River(秦淮八艳), actually eight ladies with great patriotic sense, were firstly written into a book named Banqiao Zaji(板桥杂记) by Yu Huai(余怀). They respectively were Gu Hengbo(顾横波), Dong Xiaowan(董小宛), Bian Yujing(卞玉京), Li Xiangjun(李香君), Kou Baimen(寇白门), Ma Xianglan(马湘兰), Liu Rushi(柳如是) and Chen Yuanyuan(陈圆圆). Their sharing characteristics are strongly patriotic. Most of them experienced the transition of dynasties and the turmoil of society. They lived in the lowest class of society with the strongest sense of patriotism. They were quite talented in painting and poem composition. Most of their works were lost. Straightforwardly, they were prostitutes and singers, but their heart and spirit were pure absolutely. Their love stories were also romantic and historically influential. In folk china, they were respected.

Eight Delicacies of Qinhuai River Scenic Area

The snacks of Qinhuai River are represented by eight dim sums. They are delicious and locally popular, taking a taste when you visit to Qinhuai River Scenic Area:

First Delicacy – Huangqiao Shaobing and Kaiyang Yusi of Yonghe Yuan
Second Delicacy – Beef Soup and Niurou Guotie of Jiangyouji
Third Delicacy – Bean-curd Jelly and Congyoubing of Liufengju
Fourth Delicacy – Yayousu Shaobing and Shijin Caibao of Qifangge
Fifth Delicacy – Mayousugansi and Jisi Jiaomian of Qifangge
Sixth Delicacy – Guihua Jiaxin Xiaoyuanxiao and Wuse Xiaogao of Lianhugaotuan Dian
Seventh Delicacy – Xunyu Yinsimian and Baopi Baojiao of Zhanyuan Garden Noodles Shop
Eighth Delicacy – Wuxiangdou and Wuxiang Dan of Kuiguangge   

 The Highlighted Attractions of Nanjing

Nanjing Museum Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum Qinhuai River Scenic Area Nanjing Brocade Museum
Nanjing Museum Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum Qinhuai River Scenic Area Nanjing Brocade Museum
Nanjing Qixia Temple Nanjing Jiming Temple Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall Presidential Palace
Nanjing Qixia Temple Nanjing Jiming Temple Nanjing Massacre Memorial Presidential Palace

 The Travel Guide of Nanjing

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Nanjing Travel Nanjing Tours Nanjing Attractions Nanjing Travel Tips

Editor: Julius from Mildchina
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