Jiangsu Province, 306km (189 miles) NW of Shanghai
First the nation's capital in the early years of the Ming dynasty (A.D. 1368-1644), then the capital of the Republic of China from 1911 to 1937, and now capital of Jiangsu Province, this bustling city of six million is left off many China itineraries, lacking many visible reminders of what has in fact been a highly tumultuous and storied past. Except for Zhongshan Lin, the tomb of Sun Yat-sen, the scope of Nanjing's attractions do not accurately reflect the magnitude and importance of its place in China's history, which is a shame, because the city deserves at least a day or two of your time. In addition to some Ming dynasty attractions, there are reminders that Nanjing was also the seat of the Taiping Rebellion and the site of one of history's most brutal massacres. Spring and fall are the best times to visit, as Nanjing in the summer is well known as one of China's three furnaces.