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Jilin Province, 128km (79 miles) E of Changchun

Jilin, one of the oldest settlements in the province and a legendary shipbuilding center during the Qing dynasty, is famous now for its delicate winter scenery. The city's original name was Jilin Wula (Manchurian for "along the river"), because it straddles a bend in the Songhua Jiang (Sungari River). It was hit hard in World War II and, despite one of the country's more impressive urban renewal plans, it will probably never recover its old prestige. Most visitors now use it as a staging point for trips to the Changbai Shan Nature Preserve.