Places in Nanjing – Meihua Mountain

Spring in Nanjing is very short – some people say it’s only around two weeks and then it immediately turns into summer. Currently, it’s definitely spring – it got warmer, birds are chirping in the morning and flowers blossoming. At that time, people go out in groups to admire the beauty of flowers, the most popular being plum and cherry flowers.

Plum flowers actually start blooming when it’s still winter; plum is one of the Chinese “Three Friends of Winter” – 岁寒三友, suìhán sānyŏu – three plants that don’t wither, but thrive in cold weather – plum being one of them, the other two are pine and bamboo. These three plants became a common motif in Chinese and Asian art, especially in traditional painting:

800px-Three_Friends_of_Winter_by_Zhao_Mengjian.jpg
Three Friends of Winter by Zhao Mengjian, a painting from Song dynasty

Plum flowers start blossoming even before the trees sprout their leaves; it usually happens around the Spring Festival, so the best time to view plum flowers is February and the beginning of March.

You can see plum trees all around Nanjing, but there are a few places in which they are concentrated in bigger number – and Meihua Mountain is one of the popular places that people choose to go to.

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Meihua Mountain – 梅花山 Méihuā Shān (梅花 méihuā means plum flower, so the name means – “Plum Flower Mountain”) is not an actual mountain – this hilly place is, in fact, a part of the larger area belonging to Zhongshan Mountain Scenic Area, situated northeast from the city center. To enter the area of Meihua Mountain, you’ll need to buy a ticket.

According to Baidu Maps, there are over 13 thousand of plum trees planted there. You can admire different colors of plum flowers – white, pink or red. Some trees even have flowers of mixed colors.

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I need to warn you that Meihua Mountain is usually very crowded during the blossoming season. Even though you will have plenty of space to admire plum blossoms, you shouldn’t assume that you will be able to do it in peace and quiet! There will be many people walking around, taking photos of the flowers and posing with them. However, I must say that admiring nature is something I really like in China (I know it’s a custom present also in other Asian countries, for example in Japan). In the Autumn you go out to admire red maple leaves, in the Spring – plum and cherry blossoms; apart from that at different times of the year people go to different places to admire roses, heather, rapeseed flowers… and it’s something we don’t have in Poland – although Polish people go out in nature, of course, and in the springtime they go out more, but there’s no actual custom that makes people go out at a specific time of the year to a specific place to admire a specific flower/scenery. Here, there’s a certain seasonality and rhythm of life that I enjoy.

Address: 江苏省南京市玄武区明孝陵景区内
How to get there: take metro line 2 to 苜蓿园 (Muxuyuan) station and from there you can get to the entrance by walking for around 1.6 km or riding a bus no 20 for one stop to 明孝陵 (Mingxiaoling) station.
Admission: 70 yuan, 60 yuan if you purchase it through Wechat (you can do it at the entrance), 30 yuan discounted ticket.
Is it worth to go there: I think it is, especially if you like scenery with flowers or want to experience the local custom of admiring nature.

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