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Plum Festival in Nanjing in Full Bloom
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A visitor snaps a photo of blossoming plums with her mobile phone on Meihuashan Mountain, located in the suburbs of Nanjing in eastern China's Jiangsu province on Monday, February 26, 2007. The 11th International Nanjing Spring Plum Festival welcomed its first visitors on Wednesday.

Nanjing on Wednesday kicked off its biggest-ever Plum Festival and the trees on its hills and mountains were in full blossom thanks to the warm weather this winter.

The 11th International Nanjing Spring Plum Festival will be held at the Meihuashan Mountain until March 18, the Nanjing Tourism Bureau said.

Visitors can view more than 230 varieties of plums and a total of 1,500 plum trees when walking over the hill. The festival also includes activities like plum culture exhibitions, float parades and stage performances.

Many locals have already gone to enjoy the sight of plum blossoms on other hills and mountains around the Jiangsu provincial capital. The blossoms came out a week earlier this year because of the warmer than usual winter.

During the festival, the price for a day of sightseeing at Meihuashan Mountain is 30 yuan. And the opening time is from 6:30am to 5:30pm.

Meihuashan Mountain is a small hill at Zhongshan Cemetery, the site of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen's Tomb in Nanjing.

The area of planting of plum trees has been doubled compared with former years. The organizers have also arranged more parking areas to meet the needs of an increasing number of tourists.

Tour buses marked Line 1, 2 and 3, starting from Nanjing Railway Station, can also take visitors to the hill.

Many of the guides speak English but the tourist agencies only understand Chinese inquiries and reservations.

(Shanghai Daily March 1, 2007)

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