Best Chinese travel guide

Ji’nan is situated in the west of the province of Shandong, between the Huanghe in the north and the Taishan in the south, at 117°E and 36°41 N. The city can be reached by train or air from Beijing, Canton, Nanjing, Shanghai and other large cities in China. There is also an extensive bus network linking it with other provincial centres.

Ji’nan is famous for its feather paintings and its woven articles.

The traditional local opera (luju) is particularly popular. It is not governed by such strict rules as the Peking Opera, so the characters tend to have more opportunities to develop.

it is not known when Ji’nan was founded, only that it already existed 2700 years ago. Under the Western Han dynasty, in other words about 2100 years ago, it received its present name Ji’nan (“south of the River Ji”, which is the name the Huanghe had in antiquity). From very early on the town was well-known as a trading centre and under Ming rule (1368-1644) it became the political centre ofthe province.

Ji’nan also used to be known as “city of springs” and a stone plaque from the Jin period (1115-1234) named 72 springs. Today there are over a hundred, with a constant temperature of 18°C/64°F.

The “Spring with the Vertical Jet” (Baotu Quan) is to be found in the Baotuquan-Gongyuan Park in the city centre, in among buildings which date in part back to the Song era (760-1279). From earliest times the spring has had the reputation of being one of the most beautiful in China, as is borne out by a tablet with the inscription “The first spring in the world”. It owes its name to the tremendous force with which the water shoots out of the ground into three fountains (at about 1600 litres/350 gallons per second).

Baotuquan-Gongyuan Park also contains a memorial hall to the famous and much venerated poetess Li Qingzhao, who was born in Ji’nan (1084 c. 1151).

In the Pavilion of the Roaring Waves (Gualan Tang) there are some stone tablets which were completed in the 14th c. and later.

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