A guide for SEUers to the City of Literature – Nanjing city

Updated: Jul 22, 2021 SEU Print
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Editor’s Note:

On October 30, 2019, came the announcement from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) that Nanjing’s bid to become China’s first City of Literature had been successful. This article will offer all SUEers a guide to the literary world of Nanjing.

Nanjing City Wall (Ming City Wall)


With a history dating back 2,500 years, Nanjing has always been a prominent place in Chinese history and culture, having served as the capital city for several Chinese dynasties and governments. Nanjing City Wall is one of the key historical and cultural remains of the Ming Dynasty under state protection. It is also an important cultural relic, as the inscriptions on the bricks record the changes of the wall between dynasties and play an indispensable role in studying Nanjing’s literary history.


How to get there:

Take Metro Line 3 to Jiming Temple Station, leave the station through Exit 4, walk northward for 5 minutes and you’ll see the wall.

Nanjing Library


When it was first established as Jiangnan Library back in 1907, Nanjing Library was regarded as one of China's first national libraries, and featured the third largest collection in China and the fourth largest in Asia with over 12 million books in total. Four hundred and fifty-four ancient titles in the archives are listed in China's Catalogue of Rare National Books.

How to get there:

Take Metro Line 3 to Daxinggong Station, leave the station through Exit 5, walk north-eastward for 5 minutes and you will see the library.

Literary Works


As a major cultural hub, not only in China but also Asia, Nanjing has long been serving as a critical site for the development of writing, publishing and the collection of books. Some of China's most exceptional printed works were produced in Nanjing, such as the expansive Yongle Encyclopaedia and the literary classic, Dream of the Red Chamber.

How access them:

These books are shelved in the Foreign Languages Reading Room, on the 4th floor of Liwenzheng Library, located on Jiulonghu Campus, Southeast University.

Librairie Avant-Garde


Nanjing is also recognized as a city of poetry and a hub of literature as it features 100 cultural centers and over 300 book stores, among which the Librairie Avant-Garde stands out for its innovation. It is the city’s largest independent bookstore and has been described as the most beautiful store in China by international media agencies such as the BBC, CNN and the National Geographic.

How to get there:

Take Metro Line 3 to Nanjing South Railway Station and take Metro Line 1 to Zhujiang Road Station, leave the station through Exit 1, walk or take a shared-bike to the bookstore.

It’s worth noting that the SEU library is now holding an event titled “Reading Classics in the City of Literature” to encourage SEUers to read classics and better understand the literary history of Nanjing. This will give SEUers a deeper understanding of the culture, cultural context, beliefs, and values of the people of Nanjing. More details are accessible on the official website of the SEU library.

These examples are just the tip of the iceberg. With Nanjing’s literary credentials, the award from UNESCO will undoubtedly inspire many SEUers to put pen to paper, ensuring that Nanjing as the City of Literature.

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