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Nanjing is a famous historical and cultural city. It's one of the “top four ancient cultural capitals of China" along with Beijing, Xi'an and Luoyang. The excavation of ape-man skulls in Tangshan on the east outskirts of Nanjing indicates that Nanjing was a settlement place for ancient people some hundreds of thousands of years ago. According to historical records, the city of Nanjing was first built in the Spring and Autumn Period. Sun Quan, the King of the Wu state during the Three Kingdoms Period, made Nanjing the capital. Later, the Song, Qi, Liang and Chen Dynasties of the Eastern Jin Dynasty and the Southern Dynasties all set their capitals in Nanjing. These are called “the six dynasties" in history. Taking the Southern Tang Dynasty, the Ming Dynasty (before the relocation of capital), the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom and the Republic of China into account, there were a total of ten dynasties and regimes that made their capitals in Nanjing. As such, Nanjing is also called “an ancient capital of six dynasties" and “capital city of ten dynasties".
Nanjing is dominated by low hilly areas. There are dozens of hills of different sizes in Nanjing, forming a land pattern like a coiling dragon and a crouching tiger. The Yangtze River meanders from the northwest to the southeast of Nanjing before entering Zhenjiang, with major islets like Bagua Islet, Jiangxin Islet and Qianzhou Islet etc. The Qinhuai River is the most important regional river, divided into inner and outer tributaries outside Tongji Gate (Dongshui Pass) of Nanjing. The inner Qinhuai River passes through south Nanjing, with Confucius temples on the bank, where outstanding personalities and businesspeople are gathered. It is a historically renowned prosperous place along the “10-mile Qinhuai River". In addition, there are lakes of different sizes in Nanjing, such as Xuanwu Lake, Mochou Lake, South Lake, Qianhu Lake and Pipa Lake etc, forming the city landscape of integration of “mountains, water, and the city".
Tourist attractions on Mt. Zhongshan in south Nanjing include Zixia (purple light) Cave, Black Dragon Pool, Prince Zhaoming's Study Platform and Yangmei (bayberry) Cliff etc. Right in front of the mountain, there's Dr. Sun Yat-sen's Mausoleum in the middle, Xiaoling Tomb of the Ming Dynasty on the left and Linggu Temple on the right. On Qingliang Mountain of West Nanjing, there are Qingliang Temple, Mansion of Sweeping Leaves and Chongzheng Academy of Classic Learning. On Qixia Mountain in the northeast corner of the city, there's Qixia Ancient Temple, stupas, The Thousand-Buddha Grottoes, the monument to King Yu and the Grand Buddha Pavilion etc. as well as Buddhist temples and cliffside sculptures. It used to be a holy Buddhist site. The Swallow Rock projecting over the Yangtze River, the Confucius Temple in the center of the bustling city, Xuanwu Lake and elegant Mouchou Lake are all well-known scenic sites of Nanjing.
In 1982, the Chinese government listed Nanjing as a historical and cultural city of China.