Backed by the essence of historical happenings,
complex architecture and legendary stories, the Zhonghua
Gate in the Jiangsu Province of Nanjing City features
among the most loved tourist destinations of China.
It took 21 years to construct this gate.
And the imposing structure that stands on the spot till
today justifies every bit of the effort and talent that
was put to work way back during the rule of the Ming
Dynasty. Even to a modern day tourist this huge structure
appeals with the magnificence of its structural elements
that make it the most complicated castle in the world!
Zhonghua Gate , also known as the Chinese Gate, is the
south gate of the city of Nanjing. Its construction
began in 1366 during the reign of Zhu Yuanzhang, the
first emperor of the Ming Dynasty. During this time
Nanjing was the capital of China. The Emperor instructed
the construction of a wall around his capital city to
protect it from outside attacks. Zhonghua Gate, which
was then known as the Gate of Gathering Treasure, was
thus constructed on the site that had seen an old gate
built during the later Tang Dynasty (923 - 936).
There is a fascinating legend that explains the then
name of Zhonghua Gate- the Gate of Gathering Treasurs.
It is said that when Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang built the
gate, the ground kept sinking and the gate kept collapsing
to the ground. Finally, when a treasure bowl was buried
in the place did the gate stand firm. Later on, in 1931
this gate was renamed to the Zhonghua Gate in order
to pay tribute to the revolution of 1911 which led to
the formation of the Republic of China.
The new castle built by Zhu Yuanzhang had a total of
13 gates but the Zhonghua Gate was the grandest of them
all. It had a very complex structure made up of three
closed courtyards and four arched doors that served
as the entrance. There were stone doors set behind the
double paneled wooden doors. The strategy was to divide
the enemy troop in the event of an attack and trap them
in the three closed courtyards by dropping the heavy
One of the most interesting features of the castle is
its 27 tunnels. These were built for storing large amount
of food and weapon and had the capacity to hold around
3000 soldiers. Interesting displays of old weapons can
be seen in many of these. Others lie empty but still
makes for a nice walk through the alleys of history.
The east and the west side has wide and steep ramps
which enabled people to carry materials upward. Massive
bricks plastered together with specially made cement
created with lime, sticky rice juice and tung oil were
used. Quite interestingly, each of these bricks has,
even to this day, the names of the brick makers on them.
Sun Yatsen's Mausoleum
wall of Nanjing