The cherry blossoms are about to come alive in Washington, D.C., and these fresh blooms offer the perfect frame for some of the nation's most historic buildings — like the Jefferson Memorial above, seen beyond the cherry blossoms at sunrise.
The first trees were planted on the Tidal Basin by first lady Helen Taft and Japanese Viscountess Iwa Chinda in 1912, symbolizing friendship between the two countries. Thousands more cover the National Mall and Memorial Parks as a gift from Japan.
The blooms are lovely — but short-lived. Take a visual tour of this beautiful perspective of the nation's capital:
The Washington Monument stands tall behind the cherry trees near the Tidal Basin.
The U.S. Capitol building is surrounded by Yoshino cherry trees.
Rowers enjoy an early practice along the Potomac River.
Traditionally, the peak blooming season of these delicate flowers in D.C. is mid-April, but this year, it's earlier. The National Park Service says the peak of the cherry blossom show in the nation’s capital will be from March 17-20.
Editor's note: This file has been updated since it was originally published in April 2014.