Xuanwu Lake in Nanjing

History of Xuanwu Lake

Xuanwu Lake Park is located in Xuanwu District of Nanjing City, with Zijin Mountain in the East and Ming City Wall in the west. It is the largest imperial garden lake in China. It is also the only remaining Imperial Garden and the largest inner-city Park in the south of the Yangtze River. It is known as the Jinling Pearl(金陵明珠) and is now a national key park. The ancient names of Xuanwu Lake are Sangpo(桑泊) and Houhu(后湖), have a history of about 2300 years. The history of the lake can be traced back to the pre-Qin period, it had been the imperial gardens in the Six Dynasties, and the Huangceku(黄册库) in the Ming Dynasty. They were all the imperial gardens. Until the end of the Qing Dynasty, Fengrun Gate (now Xuanwu Gate) was opened, which was the origin of Xuanwu Lake Park.

Inside the park, bridges interconnected the isles, mountains and rivers are everywhere. Xuanwu Lake is a landscape garden, also a cultural resort, literati, poets, dignitaries and celebrities of all dynasties had came here.

Five Isles of Xuanwu Lake

The lake is about 368 hectares. There are many fish in the lake and lotus flowers are widely planted. The lake shore is diamond-shaped. It is surrounded by a 10-kilometer road around the lake. There are five isles on the lake. They are Huanzhou isle(环洲), Yingzhou isle(樱洲), Lingzhou isle(菱洲), Liangzhou isle(梁洲) and Cuizhou isle(翠洲), which are connected by bridges.

Huanzhou isle

Huanzhou(环洲), named for its buckling shape, and which embracing Yingzhou isle(樱洲), is known as Huanzhou Willow(环洲烟柳). There are many historic sites on Huanzhou isle, among which the most famous are the Boy Worship Guanyin Stone(童子拜观音石) and Guoputing Pavilion(郭璞亭). Lotus Square(莲花广场) is also located in Huanzhou isle.

  • Boy worship Guanyin Stone
    Boy Worship Guanyin Stone is a rare stone of Taihu Lake(太湖). It is a relic of in Northern Song Dynasty(北宋). It is named for its unique shape. The stone is 6.3 meters high and 0.9 meters wide. It has the typical characteristics of Thin(瘦), Penetrate(透), Lou(漏), and Zhou(wrinkle,皱) of Taihu Stone(太湖石). It is a representative Taihu stone.
  • Lotus Square
    Lotus Square is about 5000 square meters, which can accommodate more than 3000 audience. The square is designed in the shape of lotus leaves and flowers. The 12-meter-high lotus fairy sculpture and four naive lotu children are the main symbols of the square. The square is a large-scale performance area with music fountain, laser and water curtain movies.

Yingzhou isle

Yingzhou(樱洲) is named for its numerous cherry trees. Cherry trees are planted all over the isle, as well as more than ten kinds of flowers, such as magnolia, camellia, etc. Every spring, the isle is a sea of flowers.

  • Yingzhou Isle Corridor
    Founded in 1954, it is a bamboo-wood structure with a length of 304 meters. In the 1960s, the corridor was changed into concrete structure. The south side of the corridor is lined with friendship trees planted by delegations of cities around the world over the years.
  • Lotus Garden
    Lotus Garden(荷花园) was completed in 1992. In the garden, more than 170 kinds of lotus were collected, totaling more than 2000 pots. There are pools, roads, stone tables and chairs in the garden for visitors to rest.
  • Yingzhou Friendship Forest
    The friendship tree of Yingzhou Friendship Forest(樱洲友谊树林) is planted by delegations of foreign friendship cities such as Germany, Japan, the United States, Italy and South Korea. The lush trees represent the evergreen friendship between China and foreign countries.

Liangzhou isle

Liangzhou(梁洲) got its name because it is said that the Prince of Liang once built a “Liangyuan(梁园,Garden Liang)” here. What’s more, the annual Chrysanthemum Exhibition is held here, so it has the reputation of “Liangzhou Qiuju(梁洲秋菊)”. The Lake God Temple(湖神庙), Lansheng Tower(览胜楼), Friendship Hall(友谊厅) and other attractions are gathered here.

  • Lake God Temple
    At the beginning, it was built in Hongwu of the Ming Dynasty to commemorate the old man named Mao(毛). Local people also called it “the old man Mao’s Temple(毛老人庙)”, and later renamed it “Lake God Temple”. The temple was destroyed in the fire of the Taiping Tianguo Movement(太平天国运动). The present building was rebuilt in 1872 By Zeng Guofan(曾国藩). It covers an area of 2 mu(亩), including a group of buildings such as Lake Temple Hall, Guanyin Pavilion, Daxian Tower, Lotus Appreciation Hall and Huxinting Pavilion.
  • Friendship Hall
    Founded in 1941, it was called “Hanbixuan(涵碧轩)” at the beginning, where Wang puppet government received guests. Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China, it has been used to receive Chinese and foreign guests. Party and state leaders Mao Zedong, Zhu De and Deng Xiaoping all stopped here to rest and meet provincial and municipal leaders. In the Cultural Revolution, it was renamed “Friendship Hall”.

Lingzhou isle

Lingzhou(菱洲), known as Lingzhou because it used to produce Lingjiao(菱角), has the name of “Lingzhou ShanLan(菱洲山岚)” since ancient times. The birds on the isle can be called “The First Garden of Chinese Birds(中华鸟类第一园)”, “Erlong Xizhu(二龙戏珠)” is the main view of Lingzhou.

  • Erlong Xizhu
    Erlong Xizhu(二龙戏珠) was built in 1983. It covers an area of 400 square meters, with a total length of 26.9 meters, a height of 5 meters and a total weight of 30 tons. It was decorated with 120,000 plants of five-color grass and other plant materials. It was the first among the three-dimensional flower beds in the country at that time and won the favor of overseas Chinese at home and abroad.
  • Bird World
    There are more than 200,000 species of birds all over the world in the Bird World(飞禽世界). There are Birds World(飞禽天地), Peacock Garden(孔雀园) and other attractions in the park. It covers a total area of 97 mu(亩). It is a multi-functiona eco-tourism attraction with ornamental, intellectual, interesting and entertaining features, and can be called “The First Garden of Chinese Birds(中华鸟类第一园)”.

Cuizhou isle

Cuizhou(翠洲) is located in the east of Xuanwu Lake with an area of 6.59 hectares. It is called Cuizhou because of there are vast bamboo, deodar on the isle. The scenery of Cuizhou is unique. Pine, cypress, willow and bamboo, formed the scenery of “Cuizhou Yunshu(翠洲云树)”, which is a good place to appreciate the green.

How to Get to Nanjing Xuanwu Lake

Travel with China Dragon Tours (top recommended)

If you want to get rid of hustle of transportation and troublesome navigation, you can book a private tour package which covers visiting, dining and transfer from us. Our local tour guide and driver will escort you to Nanjing Xuanwu Lake with speed and convenience, and take care of all the details. You just need to focus on travel.

Independent Travel

For Independent travelers you can

  • By Bus:
    Tourist can take the Bus No.304 in Nanjing City to get to Xuanwu Lake directly.
  • By Taxi:
    It will cost you about 51 CN¥ from Nanjing South Railway Station to Nanjiing Xuanwu Lake.

Recommended Nanjiing Xuanwu Lake Tours

Top 2 Nanjiing Xuanwu Lake tours chosen by most customers to explore Nanjiing Xuanwu Lake in the best way. Check the detailed itinerary, or tailor your own trip now with us. We provide some tour routes for tourists to choose.

2 Days Nanjing Highlights Tour

6 Days Nanjing Suzhou Hangzhou Shanghai Tour

Nearby Attractions

Confucius Temple

Nanjing Confucius Temple, namely Nanjing Fuzimiao(南京夫子庙) and Nanjing Wenmiao(南京文庙), is located in Gongyuan Street(贡院街) on the North Bank of Qinhuai River(秦淮河), Nanjing City, Jiangsu Province. It is the place for offering sacrifices to Confucius. It is one of the the four major Confucian temples in China. And it is China’s famous national 5A Tourist Scenic Spot.

Presidential Palace

Nanjing Presidential Palace(南京总统府), located at No. 292 Changjiang Road, Xuanwu District, Nanjing City, Jiangsu Province(江苏省南京市玄武区长江路292号), is the largest and most complete architectural complex in modern China. It is also the important site of modern Chinese history. Now, it has been established as the Museum of Modern Chinese History(中国近代史博物馆).

Purple Mountain

Purple Mountain(紫金山) or Zijin Shan, Zhongshan Mountain, is located on the eastern side of Nanjing in Jiangsu province. Covered by verdant trees, the main peak of Purple Mountain is 448.9 meters above sea level. Its peaks are often found enveloped in mysterious purple and golden clouds at dawn and dusk, hence its name. It is a national 5A tourist scenic spots in Jiangsu, as well as a world cultural heritage. Priple Mountain is not noly full of baeutiful natural scenery but also rich in cultural.

Best Time to Visit

  • Visit Xuanwu Lake in Spring
    In spring, you can enjoy the smoke-like willow at Huanzhou isle.
  • Visit Xuanwu Lake in Summer
    In summer, you can enjoy the Lotus at Lotus Garden of Yingzhou isle, and the green bamboo at Cuizhou isle.
  • Visit Xuanwu Lake in Autumn
    In autumn, you can enjoy the Exhibition of Chrysanthemum(菊花展) at Liangzhou isle.
  • Visit Xuanwu Lake in Winter
    In winter, you can enjoy the cherry blossoms(sakura) at Yingzhou isle.