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Nestled at the base of Zijin Shan, Xuanwu Lake Park was once an imperial garden. Now it is Nanjing's backyard. Nanjngers come here to walk, to exercise, to fish, or watch their children play. During Spring Festival and other major festivals the park is filled with the pop and light of firecrackers. The open spaces are never without people, but the spacious grounds never feel full. There are paddle boats to rent along the lake, and islands in the center of the water to visit. Along the north shore of the lake is the Nanjing Amusement Park and towards Zhongshan Gate is the Sun Palace Water Park.
The list of activities in the Wutaishan Recreation Park is so long, it is almost easier to think up amenities they do not have. More than a popular stadium, Wutaishan is the place to go in Nanjing for most sports and activities. From a driving range for golf fans to basketball courts and yoga classes, Wutaishan has something for everybody. Indoor tennis, an underground pool hall and informal dance classes can also be found here. If you feel cooped up or it is the first day after the rainy season, the gardens around Wutaishan make excellent walking as well. The Paulaner Brauhaus and Shishang Yunnan Restaurant are just two of the restaurants and cafes that take advantage of the area's outdoor beauty.
Visitors who have been to Beijing will be familiar with the stone animals that stand guard along the path to the tomb of Zhu Yuanzang. The original inspiration lies here in Zijin Shan at the tomb of the Ming Dynasty's first emperor Zhu Yuanzhang. The tomb covers nearly 1214 hectacres (3000 acres) and includes several notable structures, arranged to reflect the Ursa Major constellation, including the Archway for Dismounting, the Stele of Great Merits and the extravagant Walkway of Stone Animals. At the very back of the grounds lies Baocheng (Precious Hall) where the remains of the emperor are interred.
This Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) era garden is one of the most famous Chinese gardens in South China. The elaborate walkways, bridges and halls preserve an opulence distinct to Ming- and Qing-era China. Peaceful pools center in unusual rockeries to be viewed from distinct pavilions. This garden's highlights vary with the seasons, so it is a year-round attraction. However in the fall the unusually bright yellows and oranges of the foliage will stand out in memory and photographs.
Dr. Sun Yat-sen was the public face of the revolution that overthrew the Qing Dynasty in 1911. The Zhongshan Ling- Dr. Sun Yat Sen is a reverential state monument on Zijin Shan that combines modern architecture with Ming Era imperial elements, including a many-tiered flight of steps, traditional decorative huabiao columns, and a blue-roofed symbolic sacrificial hall. An Italian marble rendering of Dr. Sun lays across his sarcophagus within the hall, the ceiling of which is painted with the Kuomingtang flag. The Three Principles of the People, democracy, nationalism and people's livelihood, the revolutionary movement's slogan are inscribed across the door.