Masses of yellow coleflowers illuminate ordinary landscapes in Nanjing’s hillsides, attracting tourists for all kinds of activities in spring.
Millions of people get lost in the beauty of endless coleflowers when spring comes in Gaochun district of Nanjing, capital of East China’s Jiangsu province.
In the 13,300 hectares of colefields, visitors inhale the fresh aroma of the flowers, children fly kites and newlyweds have wedding pictures taken by professional photographers who try to capture one of the most unforgettable moments of their customers’ lives.
The coleflowers in the district, which is located about an hour’s drive outside of downtown Nanjing, are specially selected. Only those with big, bright yellow petals have the chance to greet visitors at spring time.
More than 8.7 million visitors went to indulge themselves in the beauty of Gaochun district in 2016, up 20 percent compared with the previous year. It has been rated as one of China’s best ecological attractions.
In 2010, Gaochun rose to fame rapidly after being awarded the country’s first “slow city” by Cittaslow, an international movement founded in Italy in 1999. Cittaslow aims to preserve leisurely lifestyles in small towns and to remind people of a relaxed pace of life.
The district has barred industry from 70 percent of its area, to protect its natural beauty and better its living environment. It has established winding paths that extend for 48 kilometers through the colefields, along which people can enjoy various kinds of flowers on the roadsides.
Tourism, as a result, has become an important part of the local economy. In 2016, tourism income reached 8.29 billion yuan ($1.2 billion), up 26 percent year-on-year.
Through May 6, the district is celebrating the ninth Golden Flower Festival, with various kinds of promotional activities.
Children can enjoy drawing colorful paintings and making them into kites, together with their parents. Flying their kites between the endless rows of colefields will be a great moment for them to remember.
They can also make colorful dumplings with the flour and vegetable juices provided by farms in the district.
Tourists can choose among 170 rural homestays to enjoy the “family hours”. They can also pick strawberries, plant trees and go fishing in nearby ponds, rivers and lakes. Many domestic animals, such as sheep, cows and chickens, are waiting to be fed by youngsters’ little hands.
The Youzi Mountain National Forest Park, which covers an area of 8,436 hectares, is called the “green lung” of the district. For people who have to live with smog on working days, the park provides an ideal place for them to breathe fresh air and please their eyes with green trees and numerous flowers.
By the shore of Gaochun’s Gucheng Lake, a “waterside slow city” has been under construction since 2013. Covering an area of more than 530 hectares, it has cultivated almost 100 kinds of lotus flowers and offers many kinds of boats, some only existing in East China, for people to experience.
It also has more than 30 bridges of different shapes and sizes that connect many of its scenic spots. The beautiful lake provides visitors with healthy food materials, including shrimp, hairy crab and water chestnut.
At the Wujiazui Tropical Valley, visitors can walk in a sea of roses and explore the plant maze, which is a particularly challenging one.
They can also taste tropical fruits, such as wax apples, in greenhouses. The greenhouses in the valley are controlled by computers and provide proper environments for the tropical vegetables and fruits to grow juicy and sweet.
For people who like tofu, the valley provides traditional tools and guides for them to make this food by themselves. Making tofu is not as easy as many people imagine. It was considered one of the hardest tasks in ancient China.
People interested in ceramic ware can visit a porcelain park in the district. Established by Gaochun Ceramics, a listed company whose products have been imported to more than 100 countries and regions, it shows the whole process of how porcelain is made. Visitors can also make their own porcelain at the park.
Other activities held during the festival include RV camping and folk-music concerts. With so many choices for recreation, visitors have a great chance to refresh themselves before returning to the world of work.