Nanjing City Wall - Zhonghua Gate
Nanjing City Wall
Zhonghua Gate, named as "Treasure-gathering gate" in Ming Dynasty, was firstly built in 1366, and finished in 1368.Legend has it that the construction of the Zhonghua Gate was not smooth with the completed section collapsed right after, again and again, untill the Treasure-gathering jar owned by the richest man, Shen Wanshan, in South China, was buried on the site, that the construction could be continued, thus the name "Treasure-gathering Gate". The whole structure was built with huge bricks and special "environmental" cement made from lime, tung oil and sticky rice juice, so it's extraordinarily strong. It's right the key point of transportation in the southern part of the city, with Yuhua terrace to its south as the natural screen, two streams of Qianhuai River water running respectively in the front and at the back.
The exquisite structure of Zhonghua Gate owns four arch doorways,27 soldier hidden holes, two passages ascending the gate and one bridle path. On the top is the double-eaved palace roof tower, for watching enemies. As an creative military invention, the 27 soldier hidden holes could contain as many as 3000 soldiers at one time and meanwhile store food and other stuff. One "half-thousand-kilo lock" is arranged at each arch doorway, which was used to cut the way of the enemies who invaded into the city already.
The Zhonghua gate castle is 118.5 meters from east to west, 128 meters from south to north, and covers an area of 15,000 sq.m. The first gate in the out layer is three layered, with the top layer as the double-eave palace roof watch tower, which was once destroyed in 1937 by the Japanese invading troops, now only the terrace remains exist; The middle layer is a brick and stone structure with 7 soldier-hidden holes, but now it's turned to be a teahouse, which is also a souvenir shop; In the middle of the bottom layer is the passage of the jar city, with 3 soldier hidden holes on each side; To the east and west of the jar city, there's respectively a ramp as bridle path, for the soldier riding on horse ascending the tower.
The whole construction of the Zhonghua Gate took 21 years. The stone slabs for building the tower is 40-50 cm in length,20 cm in width,10 cm in thickness and 15-20 kg in weight. The firing work of such brick at that time was really a time and energy-consuming job, all the bricks were said to be fired by more than 125 different cities and then transported to Nanjing; To supervise the quality of the bricks, the workers and officials on duty were also asked to have their names and the bricks' baking date, places inscribed on the bricks, once a section of the wall had quality problems, those people would be responsible and punished accordingly. So though the wall has gone through 600 years' of history, it still stands firmly and strongly.
Since 1980, the government has been doing the restoration work to rebuild the original appearance of the Zhonghua Gate. Now the general structure is restored and presents us with a magnificent castle in Nanjing.