Jinan, the capital of Shandong province, is located north of Taishan Mountain and south of the Yellow River. Built around the majestic Daming Lake, it is known in China as the “City of Springs” for there are more than 800 springs, and the central position makes Jinan an ideal base for exploring Shandong.

During your trip to Jinan, you will find that time seems to slow down here.

Benefits from numerous springs, green parks, and mountains make the natural environment in Jinan magnificent and poetic. Indeed the city is often mentioned in ancient Chinese poems as a symbol of tranquility and romanticism. 

Beyond itself, the surrounding region of Jinan has many sites well known for their natural beauty. Taishan Mountain, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, is one of China’s top tourist attractions.

In addition, Jinan is the main cultural center of Shandong, with universities specializing in agriculture, medicine, and engineering like Shandong University. 

Useful information

Chinese name: 济南
Area: 10,244 km²
Population: 9,202,400 inhabitants. (2020)
Language: Jinan dialect, Mandarin

What to visit in Jinan and its surroundings?

Located to the south of the city is the Qianfoshan Mountain (Thousand Buddha Mountain), and the crest of the hill rises 258 meters above sea level. Established in 1959, the park covers a total area of approximately 166 hectares. But in the Sui Dynasty (581-619) in the 6th and 7th centuries, Qianfoshan Mountain was already a famous local attraction in Jinan. Due to the prevalence of Buddhism at that time, local monks and believers carved thousands of Buddha statues on Qianfoshan Mountain, which is also the origin of the name Qianfo. As you walk to the top, you will see many scenic spots along the way, as well as various ancient relics, For example, Xingguo Zen Temple, also built in the 6th century. The Shandong Revolutionary Martyrs’ Cemetery in the east is dedicated to those who fell in the 1911 Xinhai Revolution.

Founded in 1954, but now occupying new buildings, the Shandong Provincial Museum houses more than 210,000 historical artifacts. The fifteen exhibition halls each have around 11 permanent exhibits which feature Neolithic relics, Buddhist sculptures, Han Dynasty paintings, and artifacts illustrating Shandong history, as well as a natural history section with a remarkable collection of fossils. The particular interest is the objects that belonged to the son of the first emperor of the Ming Dynasty, Zhu Yuanzhang.

At the heart of the city is the internationally renowned Daming Lake, the result of the flow of many springs. Along with Thousand Buddha Mountain and Baotu Spring Park, it is one of the three must-see spots in Jinan.

Also known as Heihu Spring, the source of the black tiger is located south of Jinan. The waters of this karstic source emerge from a limestone cave located on a cliff. From there they are channeled via three stone tiger heads into a pool from which they flow into the moat of the old town. Leafy trees and sparkling waters make it a place of absolute serenity.

Although the lakes and springs of Jinan are beautiful, what is most captivating is the activity and the pieces of authentic local life that weave close to the shores.

When to go to Jinan?

The best time to visit Jinan and enjoy the springs and lakes is from March to May and from September to early November. Rainfall is generally concentrated in July and August.

How to get to Jinan?

As the capital and largest city of Shandong Province, Jinan is an important transportation hub connecting northern and eastern China, so the city offers an extensive and elaborate transport network.

Jinan is easily accessible by flights and high-speed trains. It takes about 2 hours from Beijing and 4 hours from Shanghai by high-speed train.

Jinan food is known for its lightness and freshness.

Recommended food streets:
– Jinan Food Street, near the city’s sports center with dozens of flavored snack bars, collects thousands of famous snacks and dishes from Jinan as well as from all parts of the country.
– Barbeque Street. Barbecue stalls can be found on all major streets and alleyways in Jinan, but the barbecue street just behind Spouting Spring is the biggest and most famous. It features Muslim styles and does not provide pork.
– On Quancheng Road, you will find a Western-style food street.

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