Parks and gardens in and around Nanjing

Xuanwu Lake (玄武湖)

On a sunny warm day the people from Nanjing will go to Xuanwu Lake (玄武湖) for recreation. The lake is located in Xuanwu District in the central-northeast part of Nanjing, between the Nanjing Railway Station and Jiming Temple. Five islands within the lake are interconnected by arched bridges. Its main entrance is the Xuanwu Gate.
The lake was formed, according to geologists, when tectonic plates shifted and created Mount Yanshan. A legend is that Emperor Sun Quan (182–252) settled in the Nanjing area and he had the lake created and filled with water. The lake was named for a black dragon, believed to be a water god by Chinese Taoists, from a Southern dynasty (420-859) legend. The dragon, seen in the lake, looked like a tortoise and a snake and was named Xuanwu, meaning black tortoise.
Xuanwu Lake Park (玄武湖公园), once an imperial lake garden, is now a city park. In the spring, the pink cherry blossom trees are in bloom. Summer visitors experience emerald lotus leaves, flowers, and "a peaceful haven of weeping willows" followed by red maples and golden ginkgos in the fall. Arch bridges connect five islands. Within the scenic park are pagodas, pavilions, tea houses, and restaurants. Entertainment options include boating, zoo, and an outdoor theatre. Key attractions include the Nuo’na tower, Lama Temple, cenotaph of Guo Pu, and the Rose Garden. On the lake are boats and ferries. It is also considered the "Pearl of the Stone City". If desired, a visitor could stroll through the park for up to five hours.

Purple Mountain ( 紫金山)

A very important spot in Nanjing is the Purple Mountain, with its peaks often found enveloped in mysterious purple and golden clouds at dawn and dusk. Purple Mountain is also referred to as "Plum Mountain", because of its plum trees and abundant blossom. The Purple Mountain is located north east of Xuanwu Lake.
Purple Mountain is a mountain related to many historical events of both ancient and modern China. More than 200 heritage and scenic tourist sites are now located in or around the mountain, among which include three national historical sites, nine provincial historical sites, and 33 prefectural historical sites. Each of these destinations may be considered a go-to destination on its own. It is not possible to visit every last site on Purple Mountain in one day or even in a couple of days. Most of the main tourist attractions are on the south side of the mountain. Located in or close to the hillside of Purple-Gold Mountain, there are also about a dozen national research institutes and universities.
Purple Mountain is known as the “lung of Nanjing” and for good reason. This massive, forested park area situated within Nanjing boasts fresh and cool air compared to the muggy, polluted city center.

Plum blossom

Yanque lake (燕雀湖)

At the foot of the mountain you can find small lakes like Yanque Lake. Recently a canal between the lake and the former Ming Palace (within the boundaries of the city wall) was discovered

Sakura Garden or Oriental Cherry Garden (樱花园)

Located near the tomb of emperor Zhu Yuanzhang's a garden was created with cherry and plum trees. The garden is complemented with several buildings. The Japanese for cherry is Sakura, hence the name of the garden.
The garden also host an exhibition in memory of emperor Sun Quan (孙权), the first emperor that lived in Nanjing and reigned between 222 and 252.

Botanical Garden

Just outside the city wall, at the foot of Purple Mountain, a lake (Qianhu Lake, 前湖) and botanical garden can be visited

Green Expo Park

Nanjing Green Expo Park is a theme park to show green and ecological landscapes. It combines exhibition, science popularisation, environmental protection and tourism. Within the park, gardens have themes, referring to foreign countries and the Chinese provinces. The Dutch Garden (荷兰园) is one of the themes highlighted in the park

A part of the park is reserved for buildings copied from their originals in the Netherlands

Jiangjun Mountain

In the south of the city there is a small mountain, Jiangjun Mountain, with a quite atmosphere. There are some lakes, forests and small buildings.

Ape man caves in Leigongshan Mountain

In 1995 the Ape Man Caves were opened the general public. The discovery of the Ape Man Caves in 1993 is a great archeological breakthrough after the same kind of caves was found in Yunnan, Shaanxi and Beijing. Located in Nanjing's suburb Tangshan in Leigongshan Mountain (雷公山) you can find a large group of caves. It is proven that the total area of these caves is having tens of thousands of square meters. Among the mystic caves, Leigong Cave and Hulu Cave are now opened to tourists to explore the bones and fossils of the ancient people who were born 300,000 years ago before present. The earliest history of anthropology in Nanjing area is added more than 200,000 years compared with the past discoveries. This archeological finding has also proven that Yangtze River region is one of the places of origin of the Chinese people