Exploring Nanjing: Jiming Temple, Nanjing City Wall, and Xuanwu Lake

Authored by:
Jennifer Rives

Jennifer Rives

Every Friday, the staff at the CIEE Nanjing Study Center take students on an excursion to explore some of Nanjing's most famous cultural and historical sites. This week, we took students to 3 different sites of cultural and historical significance: Jiming Temple (鸡鸣寺), the Nanjing City Wall (南京城墙), and Xuanwu Lake (玄武湖). 

Group picture in front of Jiming Temple, by Program Coordinator Sheng laoshi

Jiming Temple (鸡鸣寺)

Jiming Temple is one of the oldest and busiest temples in Nanjing. Locals often say that it is the best temple in all of Nanjing. Named after a Chinese myth, the name of the temple literally means "rooster crowing."

Jiming Temple, by Jenna Hegedus 

Since it was first constructed in 527 during the Liang dynasty, it has been destroyed and reconstructed several times. As Program Coordinator Sheng laoshi mentioned in her tour of Jiming Temple, it is also said to be the best place to visit if you want to get a boyfriend or girlfriend. 

Learning how to pray at the temple, by Program Coordinator Sheng laoshi
Khalil putting down his incense after prayer, by Sheng laoshi

The temple's seven-story pagoda overlooks Xuanwu Lake. There is also an entrance to the Nanjing City Wall at the rear end of the temple. 

In front of the 7-story pagoda, by Ruthie Stein
Prayer flags blowing in the wind, by Jenna Hegedus

Nanjing City Wall (南京城墙)

The Nanjing City Wall was constructed under emperor Zhu Yuanhang during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). The wall's purpose was military defense. There are still military cannons on top of the wall for visitors to see.

Jasmine saving Jennifer from the cannon blast, by Sheng laoshi
Tori looking inside a cannon, by Sheng laoshi

It took 21 years for the wall to be completed, and, today, the wall is more than 600 years old. The Nanjing City Wall is one of the largest city walls ever constructed in China, and the city of Nanjing was the world's largest city until the 17th century. 

Group photo on the Nanjing City Wall, by Jennifer Rives
Jenna on top of the Nanjing City Wall, by Jennifer Rives
Group photo on Nanjing City Wall, by Sheng laoshi

Xuanwu Lake (玄武湖)

Xuwanwu Lake Park can be accessed through Xuanwu Gate, which is part of the Nanjing City Wall. In the spring, pink cherry blossoms bloom there. In the summer, visitors can see lotus leaves, flowers, and weeping willows.

Melody smelling the flowers at Xuanwu Lake Park, by Khalil Edwards
Lotus leaves on Xuanwu Lake, by Dustin Chau

Within the scenic park, visitors can also find pavilions, tea houses, pagodas, and restaurants. There is even a small theme park and boating on the lake. From inside the park, the famous Zifeng Tower and the beautiful Nanjing city skyline are also visible. 

A proposal in the pavilion, by Sheng laoshi 
Dustin and Melody in front of the lake and Zifeng Tower, by Sheng laoshi

After seeing these 3 beautiful destinations, I think it's safe to say that our students are ready and excited to continue exploring the city of Nanjing with each other and their host families! We're looking forward to seeing the adventures that they'll have in this incredible city. 

Group picture from the selfie machine at the Nanjing City Wall gift shop 


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