Tale of two cities

Updated: 2014-12-12 07:00

By Yang Yuqing(Shanghai star)

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Tale of two cities

Nanjing's Xuanwu Lake was once a favorite spot of China's emperors and has a certain beauty in the colder months. [Photos by gao erqiang/shanghai star]

Nanjing and Shaoxing are two famous cities both easily accessible from Shanghai. They are well known for their rich culture and storied bodies of water. Gao Changxin explores historical Nanjing and Yang Yuqing takes in the winter beauty of Shaoxing.

Getting away from the treadmill in your hotel gym and jogging around the lotus-covered Xuanwu Lake will add a refreshing and healthy twist to your trip to Nanjing.

That is, if the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall, the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum and the Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum are not enough reason already for you to visit, or you feel the need to re-set your mood after taking in those attractions tinged with tragedy.

Lacing up your sneakers and working up a sweat in the same place ancient Chinese emperors once strolled is not only good exercise, but also a unique experience.

Set in the middle of Nanjing's urban center, the lake stretches 15 km in circumference, with 4 km lined by an ancient city wall. The city park is dotted with five islands interconnected by arch bridges.

Legend has it that king Sun Quan (182-252) had thousands of laborers dig the lake out and fill it with water. Royal family members hunted and exercised at the lake during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms (907-960).

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