Between Nanjing's new roads and skyscrapers there are plenty of historical places. Since it was the capital of China for some time this is to be expected. Nanjing has plenty of impressive monuments from it's history. There's the wall of course, the 明孝陵 tomb of China's first Ming emperor: the 洪武 emperor (Hongwu) and the palace and grave of the president of the republic of China.
But beside these well known tourist attractions there are a number of smaller locations where you can see the traces of history. A short walk from the 天隆寺 stop of metro line 1 you can find 浡泥国王墓, the tomb of the king of Brunei. Here lies the 15th century king of 浡泥, the country we now call Brunei. He lies far from home in a rather modest tomb. His grave is in Nanjing because he died during a diplomatic mission to pay his respects to the emperor of China. This was not the forementioned 洪武 emperor (Hongwu), but the third emperor, 永乐 (Yongle) emperor. The same emperor who moved the seat of governement to Beijing. The 永乐 (Yongle) had sent out his eunich 郑和 (admiral Zheng He) on a series of diplomatic missions around the Indian Ocean with his huge fleet of ships. 郑和 visitedd Indonesia, India and sailed down the African coast up to present Mosambique. Everywhere he went he exchanged gifts and invited the local leaders to visit the great emperor of China.
The king of 浡泥 accepted the invitation and actually traveled to China to thank the emperor for the gifts and to strengthen the bonds between their countries and to stay friends with their powerful neighbor. In Nanjing the king fell ill and died after a month, aged only 28 years. The emperor allowed him to be buried in the imperial capital. The king was buried outside the city in a modest tomb. The tomb was largely forgotten for a long time. Locals thought it was a tomb of the Hui, a muslim people in China. Well after the chinese revolution archeologists discovered the steles with the inscriptions that it was the resting place of a king.
Now it is a tranquil place in a hectic city. It lies between the apartments and highways of the new Nanjing. But if you walk between the trees and the bamboo on the path towards the tomb the sounds of the city disappear. After you have climbed a stair and a followed the path to the right you see a small spirit way with horses and generals guarding the path to the tomb. The statues are in pairs on opposite sides of the roads. Past the spirit way you find the tomb with it's grave hill and a stele praising the king and telling the visitor about his visit to the emperor.
The quiet atmosphere makes you think of the era in which huge treasure ships sailed the ocean to spread the word about the great Chinese empire and it's son of heaven, the emperor.Geotag (location) for: