NANJING, CHINA: Dr. Sun Yat-sen’s Mausoleum at the Purple Mountain

A few weeks ago, I went back to visit my birth city Nanjing, China. This was my first trip back to Asia in 15 years and I felt like a kid in a candy store!

It’s remarkable to see how differently you experience certain things in life as an adult. When I was little, I always dreaded going on mandatory class field trips to all these touristy places! I didn’t know how to appreciate the beauty in the rich history Nanjing has to offer but this time around, I was ready to soak it all in! I was eager to fall in love with Nanjing all over again.

My dad came back to China with me this time. If there’s one request I made to him, it was that I wanted to truly experience my birth city! Nanjing holds so much cultural significance in Chinese history as it was not only the former capital of China, it was also the city where some of the most famous Emperors and political figures like Dr. Sun Yat-sen was buried.

One of Nanjing’s most famous landmarks is Dr. Sun Yat-sen’s Mausoleum, located in Purple Mountain in the east suburb of Nanjing. Dr. Sun Yat-Sen is known as the father of the Republic of China. His mausoleum is considered the Holy Land of Chinese people.

Construction of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen’s Mausoleum took three years, starting in 1926 and ending in 1929. The entire scenic area represents an alarm bell, symbolizing the noble spirit of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen’s devotion to the Chinese people.

When you first arrive at the mausoleum, you’ll see a marble memorial archway with Chinese characters “Bo Ai”, which means “Universal love”. Soon, you’re a Frontispiece with three archways. There are four Chinese characters inscribed written by Dr. Sun Yat-sen. Roughly

translated to English – “everything under the sky is for everyone”. Through the Frontispiece

is a pavilion made of marble. Then through the pavilion, you will climb stairs to reach the highest place of the Mausoleum, about 518 feet high!

The Sacrificial Hall is located in the center of this plateau. Entering the Hall, a 15-feet stone statue of Dr. Sun Yat-sen sits in the center. When you walk past the statue, you’ll reach a door to his tomb. The whole tomb is shaped like a circle with the marble coffin of Dr. Sun Yat-sen in the center of the chamber.



Right outside of the gate of the Sacrificial Hall, you’ll see Dr. Sun Yat-Sen’s Three Principals of the People engraved:

  1. “The People’s Community”: Sun thought the Chinese ppl lost their sense of community due to internal/external suppression. Develop a new unified society of China’s 5 largest tribes and numerous smaller groups.
  2. “The People’s Law:” The Chinese people were to be sovereign. A civil service in the Chinese tradition would remain responsible for the State’s affairs.
  3. “The People’s Welfare”: Last of the trio, and possibly the most important one of all. It is the State’s main responsibility to take care of feeding, clothing, housing and transporting its people.

Presented publicly for the first time in 1924, these three principals were at the core of all of Dr. Sun Yat-sen’s teachings. Dr. Sun Yat-Sen, a symbol of how the the Eastern and Western ideas can blend together, will always be remembered as the Father of China.


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