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Nanjing Presidential Palace Travel Guide


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Nanjing Presidential Palace located at Changjiang Road 202, Xuanwu District, Downtown Nanjing. Currently, it is China’s largest modern history museum. It used to be the King Han Mansion of Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), Governor-General Office of Jiangnan Province (today’s Jiangsu and Anhui provinces) and Jiangxi Province in Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), and the original site of Heavenly King Mansion in era of Taiping Heavenly Kingdom (1851-1864), and in 1912, it was the interim presidential palace of the Republic of China, and served as the governmental office of the Republic of China in the period from 1927 to 1937 till Nanjing was occupied by force of Japan, and resumed after the second world war from 1946 to 1948. During the period from May, 1948 to April, 1949, it was the Presidential Palace of the Republic of China.

After 1949, it served as a governmental office of Jiangsu province. In 2003, it was changed to be Nanjing China Modern History Museum. In 1982, it was approved as the national key cultural site in the name of Taiping Heavenly Kingdom Historical Site. In 2004, it was approved to be the Four-A tourist destination. From its first establishment to today, it has a history over 600 years. Over the past 100 years from 1840 (the outbreak year of the opium war) to 1949 (the year of liberation of Nanjing), there were a series of big historical events closely connected with the Presidential Palace. The historical building complex of Nanjing Presidential Palace is the important site to show that phase of history in China. Traveling to Nanjing, the Presidential Palace is the must-see site to view the history of modern China and the history of Nanjing.

Nanjing Presidential Palace History

In the Ming Dynasty, this site was the location of two successive ducal palaces. In the Qing Dynasty, it became the Office of the Viceroy of Liangjiang (两江总督), the chief government official in charge of what is today Jiangsu, Anhui, and Jiangxi.

In 1853, Taiping Revolution forces led by Hong Xiuquan occupied Nanjing. The palace was expanded and converted into a palace for Hong, the Palace of the Heavenly King, or Tianwang Fu. In 1864, Qing imperial forces re-took Nanjing. Commander Zeng Guofan ordered that most of the palace be razed, and a new office of the Governor-General be erected in accordance with government protocol.

After the Xinhai Revolution in 1911, Sun Yat-sen was sworn in at the Presidential Palace as the provisional President of the Republic of China. However, China soon fell into Warlord era and the Palace was not officially used until 1927 when the Kuomintang (KMT)'s Northern Expedition captured Nanjing and made it into the Headquarters of the Nationalist Government. Chiang Kai-shek had his office in the palace. During the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945), Chiang Kai-shek's government fled to Chongqing and the building was occupied by Wang Jingwei who collaborated with the Japanese. Following the Japanese surrender in 1945, Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalist Government reoccupied the building. In 1947, the Constitution of the Republic of China was promulgated and the Headquarters of the Nationalist Government was renamed the Office of the President.

In 1949, near the end of the Chinese Civil War, the Communist forces captured Nanjing, Chiang Kai-shek's government fled to Taiwan, and Mao Zedong declared the People's Republic of China with capital in Beijing. The building was then used for government functions. In the late 1980s it was transformed into a museum detailing China modern history. It is now one of the few places in mainland China where the Flag of the Republic of China is publicly displayed.

On April 27, 2005, the Chairman of Kuomintang, Lien Chan, visited the Palace on his trip to Mainland China, marking a symbolic return of the party to the Palace for the first time in 58 years. In January, 2013, Nanjing Presidential Palace had a resurfacing with a duration of more than 2 months.

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