The Mausoleum of Dr.Sun Yat Sen holds a special place in the heart of not only the Chinese people but all those who have respect for Chinese history, culture and work of art. As the name suggests, this is the place where the tomb of Dr. Sun Yat Sen (1866 - 1925), the father of modern China, can be found.
It is said that in his will Dr. Sun Yat Sen expressed the desire to be buried in the Bell Mountain. And that is where he lies today, surrounded by breathtaking beauty and lush green majesty, in this beautiful locale of Nanjing, China. The mausoleum, which now covers an area of 80,000 sq. m, was started in 1926 and was completed after three years in 1929. The coffin of Dr. Sun was transferred to Nanjing on May 28, 1929 and was buried in the mausoleum on June 1.
What to do
A marble pavement leads to the gate of the mausoleum which has cyan tile decoration on its top. To the people of China the color is symbolic of the spirit of justice and fairness because it is the color of the clear sky. The front gate contains an inscription of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen towards its top: ‘The World is Commonwealth’. The words bring home the thoughts and principles that had inspired and had been advocated by one of the greatest Chinese leaders of all time.
A marble pavilion leads through the gate. This is also the place where a 9m high and 4 m wide stele, which had been erected by Kuomintang honoring Dr. Sun Yat Sen, stands erect. 24 Chinese characters are carved on the stele and they read: "In June 1, the 18th Year of the Republic of China (1929), Premier Sun Yat-sen of the Kuomintang of China Buried Here".
Steps made of Suzhou granite, 392 in all, stretch from the Memorial Archway to the Memorial Hall. This flight of stairs first leads to the highest place (about 518 feet) of the Mausoleum - the Sacrificial Hall. Located at the center of this plateau, this Hall is known as an Alhambresque construction where the architectural style of China meets that of the Western world. Around this Hall can be found two ornamental columns (Huabiao) of 12.6 meter each which remind one of the columns found in Tianenmen Square.
Stylistically, the Memorial Hall resembles that of a palace with its outer wall made of granite from Hong Kong. Each of the three archways of the Hall contains the three golden words of the leader: "The Nation", "The Civil Right" and "The People's Livelihood". Right at the center, there stands a 4.6 meter high statue of Dr. Sun Yat Sen. He has an open book on his lap, wears a long gown and looks forward. The gesture captures the wisdom of the great leader and crystallizes it for ever. The glorious life of Dr. Sun gets a new expression through six embossments at the foot of the statue. The tomb itself is in the shape of a hemisphere. Its gate lies at the center of the back wall. The marble coffin is placed at the center and in it sleeps one of the most glorious personalities of Chinese history, forever.
There are many memorial buildings around the Mausoleum. These include the Zhengqi Pavilion, Open-air Music Hall, Waxwork Home of Democratic Revolution, the Sun Yat-sen Museum, etc.