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Jinan - Spring City E-mail
Reviews - Travel
Written by Peter
When Shandong province was established during the Ming Dynasty, Jinan was announced capital of the region. Jinan comprises a ridiculous 72 springs throughout the city. Unfortunately, none of these being hot springs. After WWI when Germany handed over their concession in Qingdao to Japan, supposedly a large population of Japanese setup shop in Jinan.

The city itself seems quite spread and difficult to get around. The local’s choice of transport is the motorised bicycle. The bicycle lanes which border every road are jam packed with eager movers, seemingly racing each other to get to the next intersection. The traditional means of transport "on foot", appears neglected and unpopular with sidewalks unmaintained, rare, and narrow if they do exist. I spent a day and a bit in Jinan, tasting some local delicacies and visiting the most notable tourist attractions.

The local cuisine is labelled Shandong cuisine, or northern cuisine (lonelyplanet phrasebook thank you). This I have since learnt is the most common cuisine found in Chinese restaurants around the world and in China. My dinner consisted of some local delights recommended to me by the restaurant laoban: Hot wok lamb with shallots, which was tasteless except for loads of onion; and a beef/egg/cabbage soup that was overpowered with coriander. Being a xi'an ren, I insisted on having chilli; however this request was met with faces of confusion and misconception.

In my one day of adventure to visit the tourist attractions, I was able to venture to three before the cold and wet weather defeated me. What I have learnt in previous travels though, is that when it is wet, the environment at the tourist stops improves, which in Jinan was apparent. I was comfortable with the tranquillity and serenity provided by the overcast dampness. Shandong province is the home of Confucius, so expect a lot of his teachings and philosophies to be represented in everything. Conveniently, due to traditional practices in China, all the main attractions were all in the centre district and short walking distance from each other.

Da Ming Hu (Daming Lake), very large body of water. Common boats and seating areas surround the lake, and the notoriously looking unsafe themepark rides in one corner.

Baotu quan (Baotu Spring), is the most popular of all the springs in the city. It is made up of 20 individual springs. Beautiful little place, lots of bridges and paths circling old pavilions. Lots of poets set up in this place, and some works can be found inscribed in rocks and on plaques. There was one of those carved stones from a lake that was the most famous stone in Shandong province, I can’t remember why.

Quancheng Square, large flat area where mothers go at night to do the dancing. In the middle is a big blue statue representing a spring, it is the symbol of Jinan.

More than one day in Jinan I think would be too much, due to the lack of activities on offer. Though, it does make for an ideal location to spend 1 day in transit on way to Qufu or Tai Shan (my next stops). Being the capital of Shandong province and the economical heart, it is worth the short trip and to experience a non tourist city, off the beaten track.

More information

Jinan (simplified Chinese: 济南; traditional Chinese: 濟南; pinyin: Jǐnán; Wade-Giles: Tsi3nan2; Mandarin pronunciation: [t͡ɕɨ˧˩nan˧˥]; some texts write the pinyin romanization without tonal marks as Ji'nan to prevent a possible misreading as Jin'an) is a sub-provincial city and the capital of Shandong Province. The area of present-day Jinan has played an important role in the history of the region from the earliest beginnings of civilization and has evolved into a major national administrative, economic, and transportation hub.

The modern-day name "Jinan" literally means "south of the Ji (Waters)" and refers to the old Ji River that had flowed to the north of the city until the middle of the 19th century. The Ji River disappeared in 1852 when the Yellow River changed its course northwards and took over its bed.

Click here to learn more about Jinan!


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Our valuable Editor Peter has been with us since Saturday, 11 July 2009.

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+1 #3 Zhang Qin 2010-12-31 11:49
Quoting renren duo zhidao:
Actually Shandong food is the least common Chinese food found not just in the world but in China as well. The reason being mainly because Shandong people generally keep to Shandong. Finding a Shandong resturant outside of Shandong is a rare thing indeed, and a shame because the food is, in my opinion, far better than most other popular styles of Chinese food.

I hate spicy food. Why everything in China has the same taste??? I would like to try Shangdong food..hopefully it has a different taste than always the same vinegar, soja sauce and red pepper taste in China....Without having Xinjiang food (best) here I would say how boring and monotone China food is....
+1 #2 amy Jameson 2010-12-31 11:44
really nice article! thx!
+3 #1 renren duo zhidao 2010-05-07 19:12
Actually Shandong food is the least common Chinese food found not just in the world but in China as well. The reason being mainly because Shandong people generally keep to Shandong. Finding a Shandong resturant outside of Shandong is a rare thing indeed, and a shame because the food is, in my opinion, far better than most other popular styles of Chinese food.

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