Sun Yatsen’s Mausoleum

The burial site of the father of the Republic of China, now called a ‘scenic spot’, is an epic construction to rival the opulence of the Ming Dynasty tomb to its west. It was designed by Chinese architect Lu Yanzhi, the winner of an international competition held to find a blueprint for the Mausoleum after Dr Sun Yatsen’s death in 1925. Construction of the mausoleum began in 1926 and was completed three years later, at which point Sun’s body was transported back to Nanjing and laid to rest here on June 1st, 1929.

It’s a long trek up to the burial chamber. After passing through the Memorial Archway, there’s a 480 meter stretch of tree-lined pathway to cover before reaching the Tablet Pavilion. Then it’s a hard slog up 392 stairs, over 323 meters, at a height of 70 meters to reach the Sacrificial Hall. Inside is a white marble statue of Sun Yatsen, by French sculptor Paul Randowsky and on the east and west walls of the hall Sun’s “Principles for the Establishment of the Nation” are inscribed in full. The circular burial chamber is at the back of the hall, with the coffin in a pit in the center, covered with another statue of Sun Yatsen, this time lying down.

From above, the entire mausoleum complex is built to resemble a bell and the blue and white colors of the tomb are inspired by the colors of the Kuomintang flag. Around the back of the burial chamber is a small but informative display about the construction of the tomb and the transportation of Sun’s body in 1929. It also shows a number of the other designs that were entered in the competition – some of which look far more impressive than the chosen one.

Admission: Free. Open: 7-18.


Directions: Tourist Bus Y3 from the train station stops at the Mausoleum, while Bus 20 from the west side of the Drum Tower terminates at Nanjing Underwater World, a 10 minute walk from the Mausoleum.

Alternatively, take the subway to Xiamafang station. You can then take the tourist shuttle (¥10) to Sun Yatsen’s Mausoleum.

Show the taxi driver: 请带我去中山陵, 谢谢。 (Please take me to Sun Yatsen’s Mausoleum. Thank you.)