Xuanwu Lake Park, Nanjing – Ticket, Opening Hours, Highlights, and Location

xuanwu lake park

Nanjing, the capital city of Jiangsu province in China, boasts a hidden gem known as Xuanwu Lake Park (玄武湖公园). Located in the Xuanwu district of Nanjing, this enchanting park is a testament to the city’s rich history and natural beauty. It covers an area of approximately 5.13 square kilometers and holds the distinction of being the largest city park in the Jiangnan region, making it a true urban oasis.


Table of Contents


Basic Information

Websitehttp://www.xuanwuhu.net/
Estimated Length of TourAbout 2 hours
Ticket PriceFree
Opening Hours5.00 – 22.00 in Summer Months
6.00 – 21.00 in Winter Months
Telephone Number0086-025-83614286

Location and Transportation

Xuanwu Lake Park is a beautiful urban park located in the heart of Nanjing, China. Nanjing is the capital city of Jiangsu Province and is situated in the eastern part of the country. The park is nestled on the western side of the city, adjacent to the Xuanwu District. To get there, you can choose the following way:

Bus: Take bus 1, 8, 22, 25, 28, 30, 33, 35, or 56, get off at Xuanwu Lake Park Stop (玄武湖公园站), and walk about 100 meters to the east to reach the park.

Metro: The nearest metro station to Xuanwu Lake Park is Xuanwu Gate (玄武门) on line 1. After getting out of the station from Exit 3, walk about 100 meters to the east to reach the park.


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Highlights of Xuanwu Lake Park

The Historical Tapestry

The history of Xuanwu Lake Park can be traced back to ancient times, reaching as far back as the pre-Qin period. During the Six Dynasties period, it served as a site where emperors inspected their naval forces and was converted into an imperial garden, complete with royal palaces such as Hualin Garden and Leyou Park on its southern shore. However, during the Northern Song Dynasty, Wang Anshi, the magistrate of Jiangning, decided to reclaim the lake for farmland, leading to the disappearance of Xuanwu Lake for over two centuries.

It wasn’t until the Yuan Dynasty that the lake was restored through extensive dredging efforts. In the Ming Dynasty, it was designated as the “Houhu Yellow Books Repository,” an imperial restricted area. The late Qing Dynasty saw significant developments around Xuanwu Lake as it became a popular tourist attraction during the South Yangtze Industrial Exposition, leading to the opening of the Fengrun Gate, known today as Xuanwu Gate, and the transformation of Xuanwu Lake into a recreational area. Finally, in 1928, Xuanwu Lake Park was officially opened to the public.


A Haven for Ecological Diversity

Xuanwu Lake Park is not just a place of historical significance; it also boasts a rich and diverse ecological landscape. With nearly 130,000 square meters of various wetlands and over 7 kilometers of ecologically enhanced shoreline, the park has become a haven for various bird species. Visitors can witness the graceful presence of black-crowned night herons, kingfishers, white-breasted waterhens, and more, both nesting and foraging in the vicinity of Heping Gate. In particular, the park’s three unmanned ecological islands near Heping Gate have become crucial habitats, breeding grounds, and wintering sites for birds and amphibians. Every winter, Xuanwu Lake hosts a multitude of bird species, including teal ducks, night herons, coots, cormorants, mandarin ducks, grebes, and moorhens.


The Splendor of Xuanwu Red Lotus

One of the park’s natural wonders is the Xuanwu Red Lotus, a variety of lotus that originated in Xuanwu Lake and has since spread across the country. These lotus flowers are known for their vibrant and captivating appearance, with slightly lighter hues compared to traditional red lotus varieties. Xuanwu Red Lotus gained prominence during the mid-Qing Dynasty when extensive lotus plantations were established within the lake, making it one of China’s top eight lotus viewing sites.

Xuanwu Lake has a long history of lotus cultivation, with records dating back to the Six Dynasties period when the entire lake was blanketed by these elegant flowers. To allow visitors to get up close to the Xuanwu Red Lotus, the park has designed a special type of boat that ventures deep into the lotus pond, offering a unique and immersive lotus-viewing experience.


Architectural Marvels in Xuanwu Lake Park

Xuanwu Lake Park is not only a natural wonder but also a treasure trove of historical architecture. Several ancient structures within the park stand as a testament to the city’s rich heritage.

Shence Gate, located in the northwest corner of Xuanwu Lake, is one of the thirteen gates of the Ming Dynasty city wall of Nanjing. This gate features an outer wengcheng (a fortified gatehouse) and two layers of city walls, with the gate not directly facing the city. It has a single-arched structure with a three-bay, double-eaved qiaolou (a pavilion-like tower) rebuilt during the Qing Dynasty’s Guangxu era.

Taiping Gate, situated in the southeast corner of Xuanwu Lake, is another of the thirteen gates of the Ming Dynasty city wall. In the past, it served as the northern gate of the capital city of the Ming Dynasty. The gate underwent reconstruction and now features three gateways with four vehicle lanes in the main gateway and two in each auxiliary gateway, spanning approximately 72 meters in width.

The Ancient Yuewu Platform, situated on the southern shore of Xuanwu Lake, dates back to the Six Dynasties period. It originally served as a site for reviewing military parades during the reign of Emperor Xiaowu of the Liu Song Dynasty in 461 AD. Xuanwu Lake was historically a location where emperors reviewed their naval forces, and standing on the platform, one can’t help but envision the grandeur of those times.

The Taicheng (Taiwan City) section of the city wall is situated in the middle of the southern shore of Xuanwu Lake, near the Beijige Pagoda. This segment of the wall is constructed on a stone base and features bricks from the early Ming Dynasty, with a length of 253.15 meters and a height of 20.16 meters. The western end is approximately 9.8 meters wide, while the eastern end is about 10.3 meters wide.


Vlog about Xuanwu Lake Park


Route 1: Xuanwumen – Huanzhou – Yingzhou – Liangzhou – Cuizhou – Love Garden

  • Huanzhou: Pioneer Bookstore (Xuanwu Lake branch) in Huanzhou Willow Garden.
  • Yingzhou: Beautiful cherry blossom garden in February and March, coffee festival in September and October.
  • Cuizhou: Home to little squirrels, with a large lawn perfect for camping and flying kites. The lawn is by the lake, offering a view of the sunset!
  • Liangzhou: Puxian Island amusement park, a paradise for kids, with many bonsai plants and the opportunity to feed large koi fish.
  • Love Garden: Cupid statue, where you can feed adorable pigeons.

Route 2: Xuanwumen – Jiming Temple – Jiuhuashan Park – Jinling Style District

  • Jiming Temple: Visit in spring for cherry blossoms; it’s said that wishes for love come true here.
  • Jiuhuashan Park: Offers a distant view of the entire Xuanwu Lake. The mountain is vast, and it might take two days to explore it all. Plan according to your schedule.
  • Jinling Style District: Trendy district by Xuanwu Lake, with evening lakeside concerts and occasional exhibitions of public projects from various universities in Nanjing. Quite lively!

Route 3: Jiming Temple – Jiefangmen – Lingzhou – Yingzhou – Liangzhou – Cuizhou – Hepingmen Wetland – Nanjing Railway Station

  • Lingzhou: Wide lake surface, quiet and glistening under the sunlight. You can see Taiyang Palace and Purple Mountain from a distance.
  • Hepingmen Wetland: Ideal for seeing lotus flowers in summer; the water level is high, and standing to take pictures, you’ll be almost as tall as the lotus flowers.
  • Nanjing Railway Station: From the departure platform, you can see the most beautiful Nanjing skyline.

Useful Tips Summarized from Reviews

Time Planning: Xuanwu Lake is quite large, and if you want to explore the entire area, it will take at least an afternoon, so plan your time wisely!

Sightseeing Vehicles: There are two types of vehicles for sightseeing: sightseeing cars and a small train. The sightseeing car goes around the island, costing 30 yuan/person for the entire route. The route is: Xuanwumen – Huanzhou – Liangzhou – Cuizhou – Yingzhou – Lingzhou – Xuanwumen. The small train goes around the lake, costing 50 yuan/person for the entire route, with no stops in between.

Boat Tours: For water tours, there are 4-seat boats at 140 yuan/hour and 6-seat boats at 160 yuan/hour. Remember to bring some snacks before boarding. The lake tour takes quite a while, and enjoying snacks while admiring the scenery is really delightful!

Best Time: Make sure to arrive at the lakeside around three or four in the afternoon. The lighting is beautiful, and you can capture stunning sunset scenes.


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