The city was originally a county renamed in honour of Dr. Sun Zhongshan, who is also known as Sun Yat-sen and considered by many to be the "Father of modern China". Dr. Sun was born in Cuiheng village (now part of Nanlang Town) just outside of downtown Zhongshan.
Prior to the name change, the city was called Xiangshan County (香山縣; lit. "Fragrant Mountain") and was part of Yuehai Circuit (粵海道).
During the Second Sino-Japanese War, Zhongshan was occupied by the Imperial Japanese Army which implemented Unit 8604 or Nami Unit, a secret military medical unit, related to Unit 731, that researched biological warfare and other topics through human experimentation. It was headquartered at Zhongshan Medical University (Hal Gold, Unit 731 Testimony, 2003, p.50).
Zhongshan is bordered by Guangzhou in the northeast, Foshan in the northwest, Jiangmen in the west and the Pearl River in the east. Shenzhen lies in the east across the river, while Zhuhai and Macau lie to the south.
Fufeng pagoda in Zhongshan Park.Zhongshan is a city of numerous leafy parks, wide boulevards and various monuments. Notable sights include:
Sunwen Road West (or Sunwen Xilu) in Zhongshan Old Town, a pedestrian mall lined with dozens of restored buildings from the colonial period in treaty port style. Several of these buildings were built in the 1920s. The seven story Fufeng Pagoda, built in 1608, which is visible from all over the city, is located on a hill in Zhongshan Park, which abuts the western end of Sunwen Road West immediately to its north. A Sun Yat-sen memorial pavilion stands near the pagoda.
Sunwen Memorial Park, at the southern end of Xingzhong Road, is the site of the largest bronze sculpture of Sun Yat-sen in the world.