This specific period attracts the locals because, according to him, it was when "the government really made the biggest bounds, greatest developments and smartest innovations in what was called the Nanking Decade from 1927 to 1937."
Hossack also regards the nostalgic trend as a reflection of Nanjing's desire to find a new identity, when the provincial capital is often eclipsed by nearby Shanghai, which is a 90-minute train ride to the southeast.
Chinese magazine Fan Yue Ri Li defined the Republican culture, or the "Republican feeling," as an "aristocratic spirit." In one article, the publication argued that modern China needed this lost essence because, for one reason, "the general social customs, taste and language are becoming coarse and vulgar."
The lengthy essay was later re-posted on the web edition of the state-run People's Daily.
"To some extent, it shows people partly recognize that era's values," says ROC culture specialist Chen Weixin.
Although Chen declines to point out the specific values, a general consensus among the Chinese public and media is that Republican times often embody openness, diversity, freedom and democracy,
As an architect focusing on Republican times, 42-year-old Chen has been involved in the restoration of many Minguo buildings, including part of the Presidential Palace.
"On the other hand, it shows that people are connecting with their culture and history," he adds.
"Here on the mainland, [a certain incident in] history caused a disruption to the passing of the traditional culture, but the Republican culture was in line with it," he continues. "That's why people resonate with that era's culture."
According to Chen, the Republican culture never went extinct in Nanjing after 1949, even though it did diminish. The city's layout till today is based on the "Capital Plan," a blueprint drafted by the nationalist government from 1930-1937.
As Chiang's wife, May-ling Soong, once said: "We live in the present, we dream of the future and we learn eternal truths from the past."
This may well explain Nanjing's obsession with its Republican past.