A highlight of Nanjing's Zijin Shan, Dr. Sun Yat-sen's Mausoleum (Zhōngshān Líng, 中山陵) is one of the most interesting monuments in modern China—and, among Chinese tourists, one of the most popular. The blue and white colors of this 1929 structure represent the Nationalist (Kuomintang) colors, which can still be seen in the flag of Taiwan but, aside from this building, are scarcely seen in the People's Republic. It's a clear measure of the deep respect Sun Yat-sen retains for all Chinese, whether overseas, Taiwanese or mainland, that his final resting place is a place of pilgrimage, where millions come to honor the "Father of Modern China" every year.
Completed four years after Sun's death and twenty years before the Communists finally drove Chiang Kai-shek's Kuomintang off the mainland, the venerated leader lies entombed in an elegant building atop an enormous set of white stone stairs which, along with the glazed blue and white tiles of the gates and buildings, contrast beautifully in the warmer months with the green slopes around it. The climb includes a number of huge bronze braziers, one of which retains several impressive jagged holes torn through the thick metal by Japanese ordnance from the Sino-Japanese war.
At the apex of the ascent, the round mausoleum is emblazoned with Sun Yat-sen's words "Tiānxià wèi gōng" (天下为公), meaning "What is under heaven is for all." The inscribed text of his "Principles for the Establishment of a Nation" is inside, along with a large statue of the man himself standing before his crypt.
The area outside the mausoleum provides panoramic views of the stairs—and throngs of visitors—below, as well as the surrounding countryside.
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