Sadly, Nanjing's Ming legacy can be found in only a few buildings and ruins today. In the center of town, the drum tower Gu Lou was built in 1382 and contained a series of drums used to mark the night watches, welcome guests, and occasionally warn of approaching enemies (admission to grounds free, ¥5 to enter the second floor of tower and teahouse, metro: Gu Lou). Close by is a pavilion, Dazhong Ting, which houses a 23,000-kilogram (25-ton) bronze bell from 1388. Toward the eastern part of town are the ruins of the first Ming dynasty imperial palace, Ming Gu Gong. All that remains of the once massive palace, destroyed in the Taiping Rebellion, are the Wu Men (Meridian Gate) that once marked the front gate of the palace wall, five small marble bridges, and 12 large plinths that were once the foundation of another large gate. Sections of the Ming city wall are still visible.
Memorials & Museums
For ¥140 you can buy a combination ticket that will give you access to Zhongshan Ling, Ming Xiao Ling, and Linggu Si; a shuttle (¥3) runs between these sights from morning until evening.
Zijin Shan (Purple Gold Mountain), on the eastern edge of town, got its name from the mountain's purple shales, said to have lent the place a mysterious purple aura at dawn and dusk. Covered with dense forests and dotted with the occasional lake, the mountain has always been a pleasant retreat for locals seeking relief from Nanjing's heat. It's also home to some important historical sites. Spend the day if you can, but if you have limited time, then the highlight is surely Zhongshan Ling.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.