The Modern China Relics Museum
The Modern China Relics Museum was officially opened to the public on 2003.
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The Relics Museum, the former hadquarters of the Kuomintang regime (1912-1949) encompassing 120,000 square meters, was officially opened to the public on February 28, 2003 as a “The Modern China Relics Museum现代中国文物博物馆 (1840-1949).” The palace, first built in 1647, a witness of many important events in the century after the Opium War (1840), has been restored to mirror its original condition before 1949. In the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), it served as office of the governor of what the Qing government called Liangjiang Region, encompassing today’s Jiangsu, Anhui and Jiangxi provinces in East China. During the peasants’ uprising of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom (1851-1864), it was the office and palace of Hong Xiuquan (1814-1864), the Heavenly King. On January 1, 1912, Dr Sun Yat-sen (1866-1925) had the presidential inaugural ceremony at the palace and spent 91 days wording there as the temporary president of the Republic of China. Then 20 warlords took turns, living in the palace before 1927. In the period 1927 to 1937 and 1945 to 1949, the Palace served as office of the Kuomintang central government. In 1937 the Japanese invaders that conquered Nanjing held a celebration ceremony on the palace grounds before starting the Nanjing Massacre that killed some 300,000 Chinese civilians and soldiers. In 1948 Chiang Kai-shek (1887-1975) was sworn in and became president of the Republic of China followed by Li Zongren (1891-1969). In April 1949, the People’s Liberation Army led by the Communist Party entered Nanjing and officially ended the rule of the Kuomintang. On a wall of the former State Conference Hall hang two national flags of the Republic of China, which are called “flags of the blue sky and the white sun,” and between the flags is a portrait of Dr Sun Yat-sen. The furnishings and ornaments of the rooms have all been restored according to historical files.
The restoration project, with a total investment of 500 million yuan (US $ 60 million) from the Jiangsu provincial government, began in 2000 and was finally completed on February 28, 2003. Dozens of provincial government departments and thousands of residents have moved out from the area of the palace. The palace itself was restored according to a plan drawn up by Ding Hongwei and Shan Yong, both professors of the renowned architectural department of the Nanjing-based Southeast University. The restoration project was not an easy job, as the palace had blended all the architectural styles of the 19th and 20th centuries. Each of its owners added to it something popular in their reign.
As visitors stroll through a 15-meter-wide avenue paved with stone slabs, Chinese pagoda trees and old camphor trees are lined on both sides of the avenue. Set amongst the deep green, are pink and white blossoms of plum trees. At the end of the avenue stands an imposing red hall with a horizontal board, featuring an inscription by Dr Sun ON THE BEAM. It reads: “Tian Xia Wei Gong” (the whole world as one community). The Taiping Heavenly Kingdom built the hall as the Hall of Glory. In it Hong Xiuquan promulgated decrees, died and was buried in 1864, and Dr Sun Yat-sen held the presidential inaugural ceremony in 1912. Behind the hall is a traditional Chinese veranda, and along the veranda are rows of houses that were used as offices during the Kuomintang regime. With arched wooden windows, European Renaissance relieves and carved chimneys, the European-style houses had traditional Chinese roof tiles. Between the houses were small gardens, where fat leaves of magnolia trees cast various shadows on the white walls and petals of plum blossoms floated in tiny ponds. At the end of the veranda sits the five-storey Zichao Building. Built in 1935, it was typical of the new ethnic building prevalent during that period. On the third floor of the Zichao Building are offices of presidents and vice-presidents in the period of the Republic of China, including Chiang Kai-shek’s office, and also the room that served as the State Conference Hall. Buildings along the route have been well preserved since 1949 and revamped regularly. Entering a European-style garden at the right side of the Zichao Building, visitors will be on the eastern route. Restored in the section are office buildings of the Kuomintang’s cabinet in a residential compound and 66 stables of the former Qing Dynasty. The wooden windows were all carved according to the style of several windows that survived. On the eastern route the museum house exhibitions on the Republic of China, Dr Sun Yat-sen’s life, the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, the Presidential Palace and the governor’s offices of the Qing Dynasty. The exhibitions feature replicas of important historical files in the collection of the Nanjing-based No 2 Historical Archives of China, Nanjing University and the Nanjing Library.
Next to the exhibition halls is a newly established research center on the history of the Republic of China. Along the eastern route, visitors can return to the Hall of Glory, and through a small soor on the left of the hall enter the Xuuan Garden, a royal garden of the Taiping Heavenly Garden. The garden, with pavilions, towers, verandas, willow trees and Chinese parasol trees nestled around a lake, has been well preserved over the past century. It is the place where Hong Xiuquan and Dr Sun Yat-sen often had tea with friends when they stayed in the palace. Hidden behind the Sunset Tower at the western end of the garden is a small courtyard with a one-storey building created in French Renaissance style. The simple building was Dr Sun Yat-sen’s office when he served as temporary president of the Republic of China in 1912.
More About Nanjing
- The Modern China Relics Museum
was officially opened to the public on 2003.
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or Valley of the Soul Monastery.
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- Nanjing University
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