Nanjing (Nanking) is the capital of China’s Jiangsu Province and a city with a prominent place in Chinese history and culture. Nanjing served as the capital of China during several historical periods, and is listed as one of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China. Nanjing is also one of the fifteen sub-provincial cities in China’s administrative structure, enjoying jurisdictional and economic autonomy only slightly less than that of a province.
Located in the downstream Yangtze River drainage basin and Yangtze River Delta economic zone, Nanjing has always been one of China’s most important cities. Apart from having been the capital of China for six dynasties and of the Republic of China, Nanjing has also served as a national hub of education, research, transportation and tourism throughout history. With an urban population of over five million, it is also the second largest commercial center in the East China region, behind only Shanghai.
Nanjing first became a capital in AD 229, where Sun Quan of the Wu Kingdom during the Three Kingdoms Period. The city was reconstructed during the late Tang Dynasty. It was again named capital (then known as Jinling) during the short-lived Southern Tang Kingdom. The City Wall of Nanjing, the world’s longest. Built in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), the first emperor of the Ming Dynasty Zhu Yuanzhang who overthrew the Yuan Dynasty rebuilt this city and made it the capital of China in 1368. He constructed what was the longest city wall in the world at that time. It took 200,000 laborers 21 years to finish the project. The present-day city wall of Nanjing was mainly built during that time, and it is the longest surviving city wall in the world.
In 1937, the Japanese army invaded and occupied Nanjing, then the capital of China, and carried out the systematic and brutal Nanking massacre. The total death toll could not be confirmed, since no official records were kept, and is often contested, but most estimates put the number of dead between 200,000 and 350,000. The Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall was built in 1985 to commemorate the event.
On April 23, 1949, The People’s Liberation Army conquered Nanjing, officially ending the Republic of China’s rule on the mainland. After the establishment of the People’s Republic of China, Nanjing was initially a province-level municipality, but very soon became, and today remains, the provincial capital of Jiangsu.
Nanjing has been the educational center in southern China for more than 1700 years. Currently, it boasts of some of the most prominent educational institutions in China, which include Nanjing University (founded as National Central University 1902) and Southeast University.
Nanjing’s Lukou International Airport, serves both national and international flights. The airport currently has 85 routes to national and international destinations, which include Japan, Korea, Thailand, Hong Kong and Singapore. The airport is connected by a 29-kilometer (18 miles) highway directly to the city center.