Also known as Madame Sun Yat-sen and one third of the famous Soong sisters, she helped shape modern Chinese politics through her involvement in both the Kuomintang (KMT) and the Communist Party, as well as becoming the first non-royal female leader of the country. Her sister Meiling married KMT leader Chiang Kaishek and their former residence is now Sasha’s on Dongping Lu.
Contrasted against the frugal dwellings of some of the Communists on this list, Soong’s former wealth is palpable. The residence includes a mansion-style main building, a 2,200sqm garden with fragrant magnolias and camphor trees, a garage with two 1950s luxury limousines (one a present from Stalin), and a dovecot. The residence is as well organised as many fully functional museum. An exhibition hall tells the story of her life through belongings such as her handbag, record collection and Go set, which rest securely behind glass cabinets, while the home itself allows for an intimate wander through the lavishly furnished house of a political celebrity. Immaculate bilingual signage is supplemented by audio guides in five languages giving step-by-step explanations of Soong’s life and political work.
The home itself is impressive, mostly for the sheer wealth on display – from carved wooden lampshades and rosewood fireplace screens to original oil paintings.
With informative, well presented displays, an admirable garden and the house itself, the 20RMB entrance fee goes a long way. Whether you wish to soak up some history or just admire the magnolias, this historical landmark is a great alternative museum, and well worth dropping by.