Published: October 5th 2009October 5th 2009
Amanda and I went to Nanjing for a couple of days - particularly to see the Massacre Museum and a place that I could not remember.
Nanjing is an absolutely huge city and being the National Holiday meant that everyone was out enjoying the sun and the sights.
During the last year and half that I have been in China, I have Never seen so many people in one city at any one time as I did in Nanjing - not in Guangzhou or in Shanghai. Traveling around was pretty crushing.
Yesterday, we went to the Massacre museum. It left us both tired. Amanda needed to think about it. For me everything was plain to see and read.
To give you and idea of scale of people and size, we waited in line for forty minutes with about 2,000 others in an ever increasing queue to go into the museum, the barrier counter as I went in rolled over to 14,239th person of the day but inside, it was huge and surprisingly not so overpowering with people.
On many levels, this museum works - firstly, it's free. There is nothing free in China, but most importantly,
it tells the story of what happened to the people of Nanjing during a six-week period following the Japanese capture of Nanking, then capital of the Republic of China, on December 9, 1937. During this period, hundreds of thousands of civilians were murdered and it is claimed that 20,000-80,000 women were raped by soldiers of the Imperial Japanese Army. It is also built on the site of the place where thousands of bodies have been excavated from mass graves.
For me, the most overwhelming sections were the stories about the raped women and the photos were painful and then, towards the end, a survivors wall. It was very moving, more real for me than the memorabilia in the cabinets.
The buildings and sculptures are beautiful - very sympathetic to the massacre with some of the exhibits, especially the mass graves, underground. Aferwards, Amanda needed to think about it and I think that a second look for me would reveal more than a very crowded first visit but I'll not forget the photos of those poor women.
Unsurprisingly, you are not allowed to take photos in the main museum but oddly, you can of the mass excavated graves.
After staying over night at Nanjing University, today, we rode around on buses trying to find the place I wanted to see but I could not remember its name. Of course we went to the wrong place, which would have been fantastic but for the 60,000 visitors already there, so we sat outside enjoying the sunshine by Sun Yat Sen's Mauseleum on Purple Mountain.
There are more photos below