Nanjing Presidential Palace

Presidential palace in Nanjing

Presidential palace in Nanjing by Tin Mengqiao. Sourced via Flickr under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License.

Nanjing means "South Capital" and Beijing "North Capital". Over the centuries, the capital city of China has changed several times with Nanjing having several brief periods of holding the honour. The last time Nanjing was the capital city of China was during the Republic of China period that ended in 1948. The palace buildings that were the government buildings of the time are now a museum telling the history of Nanjing.

The palace buildings are however much older than the Republic of China and the history told about them is long and interesting. The site was originally the palace of the Prince of Han during the Ming dynasty. The Qing Dynasty saw the site become the office of the Viceroy of Jiangnan and Jiangxi provinces. The came the Taiping rebellion.

Hong Xiuquan led a revolution against the Qing government in 1950. He believed that he was the brother of Jesus and wanted to institute reforms throughout China. In 1853, Taiping Revolution forces led by Hong Xiuquan occupied Nanjing. The set up the The Kingdom of Heavenly Peace with Nanjing as the captical and the palace buildings became the Palace of the Heavenly King or Tianwang Fu. Hong Xiuquan was to some extent successful in taking control of a very large section of the Chinese empire, containing 30 million people, which he ruled until 1964 when the Qing armies took Nanjing. The palace was ordered to be raised to the ground and a new set of buildings constructed on the site.

In 1912 the palace's west garden became the Presidential Residence for the newly elected Provisional President, Dr Su Yat-sen (Sun Zhongshan). However the fragile republic fell to the war lord eara. In 1928, the palace became the administration office of the republic government now lead by Chang Kai-shek. The government had to move to Chongqing city during the later 1930's and 40's as the Japanese took control of Nanjing. After the war, the republic government restored to Nanjing again. After the 1948 creation of new China in Beijing the palaces were for government purposes until they were converted into the present day museum in the 1980's.

Map showing location of Nanjing Presidential Palace

Above: Location of Nanjing Presidential Palace in Nanjing, Jiangsu, China