Jinan, China. Attractions, descriptions and reviews

Jinan sights

Temple of Confucius Cave Thousand Buddha Archaeological Site Chengji Liangshan Temple Black Tiger Spring Hall Zhejiang Fujian National University

This site contains Jinan attractions – photos, descriptions, and travel tips. The list is based on popular travel guides and presented by type, name and rating. Here you’ll find answers to what to see in Jinan, where to go and where are the popular and interesting places in Jinan.

Confucius Temple

Confucius Temple (photo)

Confucius Temple is the place where emperors dedicated sacrifices to the great teacher. It is located in Shandong Province, in the city of Qiufu, but once this area was the capital of the kingdom of Lu, that is, the birthplace of the great teacher.

The temple is built according to the principles of an imperial palace – all the main buildings are located along its central axis, and the subsidiary ones are arranged symmetrically on either side. Its area is strictly rectangular and protected by a red wall of bricks. The basis of the whole composition is the increase of the scale of the constructions – they increase as the central building, which is the highest one, approaches. Stone slabs are laid out in front of the temple. In the courtyard there are more than 2,100 steles of stone with inscriptions praising Confucius. The pedestals beneath them are in the form of turtles. There is also a relic of the teacher himself – the oldest well of the Kung house. The color scheme of all the nine courtyards is complemented by dark green pine trees.

In 1499, the temple was destroyed by fire. But today it is fully restored, and since 1994 it is on the list of World Heritage Sites of UNESCO. There are several similar Confucius Temples in China, but this one is the largest and most important.

The most important structure in the temple courtyard is the Palace of Great Achievements with bright yellow glazed tiles. In the very center of the hall is a statue of Confucius, with statues of his disciples next to it.

The Temple of Confucius is a landmark reflecting the memory of the philosopher and teacher of all times.

Coordinates : 35.59666700,116.98416700

The Cave of a Thousand Buddhas

Cave of a Thousand Buddhas (photo)

The Cave of a Thousand Buddhas is a monument of Buddhist art and a cultural heritage of China. It is located 33 kilometers from Jinan city in Shandong province. Its area is 63 meters, it includes more than 210 statues and 43 rock paintings. There was once a Shen Tong Temple not far from the cave, which was popularly called “Supernatural Power”. Today, it has become a ruin.

The very first sculpture of Buddha in the cave was carved by Sha Dun, a 70-year-old monk. This happened in 619 BC. Twenty-five years later, the old monk Ming Di created two more statues. When he felt his life was nearing its end, he donated money to carve more sculptures.

This was the time of the Tang dynasty, which was against the development of Taoism. The monk took great risks in creating Buddhist statues. But his faith was unwavering and the purpose of his creations was prayer, not the expression of his political views.

Despite all the persecution by the state authorities, the carving work did not stop. It was continued by other Buddhists even after the deaths of Sha Dun and Ming Di. Today the Cave of a Thousand Buddhas is the largest collection of Buddhist sculptures, statues of Chinese officials and monks in Shandong Province.

Coordinates : 36.45535900,117.12678600

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Archeological excavations in Jinan

Chengji Archaeological Site (photo)

The Chengji excavation site is located about one kilometer west of Longshan City and about 25 kilometers from Jinan City. The excavation is located slightly north of provincial road S 102 and less than 1 kilometer south of Dragon Lake. Other sites nearby are the Dongping Mausoleum and the Ruins of the Old City Wall.

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The excavations are the first of their kind to reliably confirm the existence of the Luanshan Neolithic culture. The beginning of the excavations in 1928 was a significant step toward understanding the origins of Chinese civilization. Archaeologists at the Chengji excavation site consider the site to be the largest Neolithic settlement found to date. The site is protected by the Chinese government and its findings are available at the Chengji Ruins Museum.

The site was first excavated in 1930. It was then the first time in history that a field excavation was conducted exclusively by Chinese archaeologists using modern methods. Additional excavations of that site were conducted by the Institute of Archaeology of China in 1990.

Foundations of ancient houses, kilns and wells, pottery objects such as ladles, cauldrons, bowls, jugs, as well as stone weapons and oracle bones were found. Some ceramic objects contained inscriptions in ancient languages.

Coordinates: 36.73500600,117.35638000

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Liangshan Temple

Liangshan Temple (photo)

Hidden in the mountain ranges of China, in Shandong Province, is one of the most beautiful Chinese temples, Lianshan Temple. It was founded during the Jin dynasty. This temple is magnificent and majestic, it stands against a mountain and consists of 40 halls and 18 pavilions.

In its original form, the temple was built in 357, during the reign of Fu Jian. During the Tang dynasty, Liangshan reached its peak. It added more than forty natural wood halls, 500 Buddhist rooms for the monks who lived here during the ascension, and many stone statues, which are some of China’s oldest cultural treasures.

There are only 167 stone stupas in the temple, but you won’t find two identical ones here. The main attraction of the temple is the Hall of a Thousand Buddhas which is definitely worth a visit for every tourist.

Coordinates: 36.36276600,116.97815600

Black Tiger Spring

Black Tiger Spring (photo)

There is an artesian karst spring in Jinan City, Shandong Province, China. There are 72 springs in this area but this spring is considered the second most important after Baotou. It is called the Black Tiger spring. And for good reason.

Water circulates from water caves that are hidden in the steep limestone rock. From the caves it flows directly into a square pool and then into the old city moat. But most importantly, the spring does not just emerge from the rock, but from the three jaws of tigers with carved heads of ornamental stone. There is a myth that in ancient times there was a black stone at the entrance to the cave. And only after one man moved it, there was a roar – it was the sound of water flowing from the jaws. Since then, the pool that Yang Baising, the great poet of the Ming dynasty, praised in his poems was formed.

Coordinates: 36.66212400,117.02565800

Zhejiang Fujian Hall

Zhejiang Fujian Hall (photo)

Zhejiang Fujian Hall is the meeting hall of successful Chinese merchants. It was built during the Qing Dynasty in Jinan City in Shandong, the eastern province of China. Zhejiang and Fujian traders held meetings in the hall. This building was the last mention of merchants of such a high class.

The meeting hall stands on large wooden posts. Its roof is covered with small green tiles. The structure once had two entrances, but in 1956 the north gate was closed, leaving only the south gate. The attraction has two main halls.

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Jinan has always been a major trading center. It was here that businessmen from all areas of China came. They built meeting halls for themselves to develop their activities. It was here that cooperation was established and great deals were struck. Only business circles swirled in the hall. There were more than ten such halls in Jinan, but over time they were converted for very different purposes. Only the Zhejiang and Fujian Hall has survived to this day to remind us that Jinan was and is China’s most important trading center. To this day, traders have not forgotten this and hold annual festivals and exhibitions in the hall.

Coordinates: 36.66270000,117.02500000

National University of Shandong Province

National University of Shandong Province (photo)

National University of Shandong Province is the public and comprehensive university of the entire province. It is one of the largest universities in China. At the moment, there are about 57,000 students studying there.

The modern university is the product of many mergers and splits as well as the restructuring of many academic institutions. The university was founded in November 1901, and was the second in China to receive national status.

The university consists of seven buildings, all but one of which are located in Jinan City. Another building is under construction in the small town of Qingdao. The university has been key in China’s education since 1960, when it was included in the list of educational institutions that should raise the country’s educational competitiveness to an international level.

The university currently produces master’s, doctoral and postgraduate students in the humanities and technical sciences.

Coordinates: 36.67217500,117.06009000

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Thousand Buddha Mountain

Mountain of a Thousand Buds (photo)

The Mountain of a Thousand Buddhas is considered the main attraction of Jinan City. The mountain rises 258 meters in height. In 1959 Shandong Province National Park was established around it.

In the years 581-618, when the Sui Dynasty ruled, on the slopes of the mountain was carved a large number of silhouettes of Buddha and built a temple of a thousand Buddhas, which became very famous after that. That’s why the mountain has the same name as the temple. The mountain includes many historical sites and relics.

The temple complex consists of the Laughing Buddha Pavilion, the halls of Dasyun Baodian and Guan Yin, and the Duihua site. To the southwest of the temple is an ancient inscription – four printed symbols carved into the rock.

In the Lishan Pavilion one can see how Taoism, Confucianism and Buddhism harmonize with one another. Luban and Yulan temples, the Temple of Humility and Wenchang Pavilion are adjacent here.

There are more than 130 statues of Buddha carved into the mountain, which are located on the southern slope of the mountain. On the opposite side are the Qianlou, Yizu, Jile, and Lunquan caves.

Coordinates : 36.63972200,117.03642900

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10 things to do in Jinan

Shandong Province in eastern China is a well-known tourist destination. But Jinan (济南 Jǐnán), important from an educational point of view, is lost against the background of the beaches of Qingdao, the birthplace of Confucius Qiufu and Mount Taishan. The provincial center is called the City of Springs: there are many springs with clean water. But this is not the only attraction of Jinan. Its natural and cultural monuments can show travelers the beauty of Shandong from a new and unusual perspective.

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Tell EKD where to go, what to try and what to do in Jinan.

1. Quench your thirst at the Black Tiger Spring

An evening on the waterfront at the Black Tiger Spring. Photo by the author.

It is difficult to choose the main key for the City of Springs – so they merged with the nature of Jinan. But the Black Tiger Spring (黑虎泉 hēihǔ quán) stands out from the rest. Locals from nearby residential areas flock to it, filling jerry cans with clean water, washing, idly chatting and admiring the views of the canal in the shade of trees. The Black Tiger Spring saves passersby from the heat during the day and creates a lively and romantic atmosphere of the city on the water in the evening. If you decide to taste Jinan, it’s worth doing here.

Address: 济南市历下区黑虎泉西路

Locals draw water from the Black Tiger spring. Photo by the author

2. Achieve enlightenment on the Mountain of a Thousand Buddhas

The Mountain of a Thousand Buddhas (千佛山 qiān fó shān) is one of the key places for pilgrims and fans of Buddhist culture in eastern China. Here, Buddhist symbols appear in various forms: alleys surrounded by monastic sculptures, giant gods, a temple worshipping the bodhisattva Guanyin and the cave of the Ten Thousand Buddhas (万佛洞 wàn fó dòng). Here you can experience the culture of an ancient religion without the crowds of worshippers and the hustle and bustle.

The pavilion on the highest peak of the Mountain of a Thousand Buddhas. Photo: sohu.com

The pavilion on the highest peak (千佛山山顶 qiān fó shān shāndǐng) offers a panoramic view of Jinan. On the way to the peak of the mountain, you can gain strength and soak up the energy of the revered place in one of the dozens of pavilions scattered around the area.

A part of the temple complex of the Mountain of a Thousand Buddhas – the Cave of Ten Thousand Buddhas. Photo: zhihu.com

Address: 山东济南 济南市经十一路 18 号 Ticket to park: 30 yuan Tickets to individual temples and caves: 5-20 yuan

3. Admire the heritage of German architecture

At the end of the 19th century, the German Empire took over the Shandong Peninsula. The Germans occupied the mineral-rich territory and signed a 99-year lease on Shandong with the Qing government. Germany built railroads, schools, and temples in the colony and developed its own business. Like coastal Qingdao, Jinan boasts architectural landmarks dating back centuries.

The first group of architectural monuments in the German Art Nouveau style is concentrated in the area of the Jinan central station (济南站 Jǐnán zhàn). One of them is a five-minute walk from the station. It is a two-story building with a tower and dome from the early 20th century that now houses the Jinan Cultural Tourism Promotion Center of China Postal Service (济南文旅邮政推广中心 Jǐnán wénlǚ yóuzhèng tuīguǎng zhōngxīn). Address : 山东省济南市天桥区经一路 91 号.

Just as well preserved, but not used as intended, is the house at the intersection of Jing’erlu (经二路 Jīng èrlù) and Wei’erlu (纬二路 Wěi èrlù). Many other structures that once formed a single ensemble have lost their original appearance: they were reconstructed in the 1990s.

The building of the Jinan Cultural Tourism Promotion Center of the China Postal Service. Photo: dzrb.dzng.com

Modern Jinan has also inherited several large Christian churches. The main one is the Catholic Cathedral of Hongjialou (洪家楼教堂 Hóngjiālóu jiàotáng) of the Jinan Diocese. It is located in close proximity to the campus of Shandong University in the east of the city. The gem of Jinan temple architecture is temporarily closed to the public, but the area around the cathedral is suitable for atmospheric photo shoots.

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The address is 山东省济南市历城区洪家路 1 号

Hongjialou Catholic Cathedral. Photo by the author

4. Have a belly party on Fujun Street

If you hold a competition between Chinese pedestrian food streets, Jinan’s Fuzhunjie (芙蓉街 Fúróng jiē) will leave all the competitors behind. It is not very big and does not claim to be the main one on the scale of China. Its status is defined by its first-class delicacies, historic environment, and proximity to canals with clean water.

Tourists on a stroll along Fujun Street. Photo: Xinhua

Of the dishes with which Fuzhun Street has captured the author’s heart, fried kaolenmian noodles (烤冷面 kǎo lěng miàn) and rich fish soup with funchos (浓鱼汤粉 xiānnóng yútāng fěn) stand out. You will find the corresponding signs in the middle of the street on the left side. At the end, where Fujun Street splits into narrow alleys, there are many old Jinan eateries and cozy coffee shops.

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  1. Salted Tianmo Porridge (甜沫 tiánmò). The porridge is cooked from millet, peanuts, funchosa, red beans, spinach and soy milk foam in large vats. Tianmo is the most popular breakfast in Jinan, and the natives start every day with it.

2. braised bāzi brisket (把子肉 bǎzi ròu). The preparation uses pre-wrapped pork brisket with straw strings, which is then cooked for a long time with soy sauce. The resulting meat is tender and non-greasy. Bazzi meat is suitable as a separate dish with rice, and as a meat component of a complex dinner.

Lunch with bazzi brisket stew. Photo: zhimg.com

3. yuxuan onion bagels (油旋 yóu xuán). A small baked snack made of spiral-shaped dough is eaten hot without leaving the place of purchase. The bagels have a pleasant onion smell, a crispy crust, and a soft dough inside. Most often, small bagels are eaten as an appetizer to dumplings in soup – húntún (馄饨 húntún). It is recommended to take several yusuangs at once – they are sold out extremely quickly.

Yuxuan onion croissants at the counter. Photo: mp.itc.cn.

4. Fried gote dumplings (锅贴 guōtiē) . Oblong, semi-closed dumplings with minced meat and chives (韭菜 jiǔcài), served on a plate of 5-6 pieces. Because of the unusual way of frying at the bottom of the dumplings dough becomes crispy, and the top remains tender. Their taste will not leave indifferent any fan of dumplings.

A portion of Jinan fried goat dumplings. Photo: sohu.com

5. Jinan-style duck (济南烤鸭 Jǐnán kǎoyā). Historians claim that the recipe for Peking duck (北京烤鸭 Běijīng kǎoyā) comes from the traditional cuisine of Shandong province (鲁菜 Lǔ cài). The Jinan version of duck is probably the most traditional version of fried poultry in all of China. Don’t deny yourself the pleasure of touching the origins of the capital’s cuisine.

Served Jinan-style duck. Photo: sinaimg.cn

5. Feed the fish in the Five Dragons Pond

The next location on Jinan’s water route is the Five Dragons Pond (龙潭 Wǔlóng tán). It is not a masterpiece of park architecture, but a pleasant and quiet place to relax within walking distance of the center. Several ponds are connected by bridges from which you can feed the fish, and narrow paths meander through the islands. For feeding, we recommend buying a bag of food from the park.

Address: 山东省济南市天桥区筐市街 18 号

A pavilion on the shore of one of the ponds. Photo: sohu.com

6. Walk along the water surface of Daming Lake

View from the south shore of Daminhu Lake. Photo by the author

Daminhu Lake (大明湖 Dàmíng hú) is the water heart of Jinan, from which a network of ditches and canals spread out in all directions. In summer, lotuses bloom and water lilies bloom on Dàmíng hú. Park at the lake offers vacationers a ride on the tour boat, but you can also rent a boat. As a boat captain, you can sail to the islands at the eastern end of the reservoir to see the pagodas and pavilions in the traditional style. The boat tour is the only available view of Jinan from the water.

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The islands at the eastern end of Daminghu Lake and the Chaozhan Tower. Photo by the author

Address: 大明湖路 271 号 Boat rental: 100 yuan/hour, 200 yuan deposit Tour boat: 10 yuan

7. Make a wish at Baotu spring

Baotu Spring. Photo by the author

Baotu Spring (趵突泉 Bàotū quán) is the most famous of all Jinan springs. The place that poets have sung about in the past is still enchanting today. The spring has pools of pulsating spring water where you can toss a coin for good luck, painted galleries, man-made mountains, and even waterfalls.

Address: 山东省济南市历下区趵突泉南路 1 号 Admission fee: 40 yuan

Pavilions at Baotou Spring Park. Photo by the author

8. Immerse yourself in the revolutionary past of central Shandong

Jinan is famous not only for its German heritage, but also for the memory of folk heroes. Near the Black Tiger Spring, one can find the Liberation Pavilion (解放阁 Jiěfàng gé). Its observation deck offers a water-park scenery, and inside is an exhibit about the Civil War and the Communist rise to power.

Liberation Pavilion near the Black Tiger Spring. Photo by the author

Address: 济南市历下区下河涯街 22 号 Admission: free

The second revolutionary landmark is the Monument to Heroes Who Died for the Cause of the Revolution (革命烈士纪念塔 Gémìng lièshì jìniàn tǎ). Unlike its Beijing counterpart, the Monument to the People’s Heroes in Tiananmen Square, the Jinan is situated on a high hill and is surrounded by a memorial to the heroes of the Communist revolution. At the base of the monument is one of the best panoramic views of Jinan at any time of the year. The monument is adorned with an inscription by Mao Zedong, the first chairman of the People’s Republic of China.

Address: 山东省济南市市中区英雄山路 18 英英雄山风景区 Admission: 30 yuan

Monument to the heroes who fell for the cause of the revolution in Jinan. Photo: iqilu.com

9. Feel the rhythm of Jinan at Source City Square

In the geographical center of Jinan is the Square of the City of Springs (泉城广场 Quánchéng guǎngchǎng). Everyone will find entertainment here: outdoor enthusiasts will join groups of sporty retirees, foodies will buy treats in trendy establishments and enjoy a meal in the shade of poplar and willow trees, and photography fans will capture large architectural forms. In the center of the square is a stele in the form of a rushing stream of water, and to the west, skyscrapers break out of the low-rise development.

A stele in the form of a spring (泉标 Quán biāo) in Spring City Square. Photo: dadiaosu.com

10. Find out what autumn is like at the Valley of Red Leaves

If you have the energy and time to march out of town and a passion for picnics and romance, head to the Valley of Red Leaves (红叶谷 Hóngyè gǔ). Its natural potential is revealed in late October and early November, when the Meihua plum trees and bushes are covered in purple. At other times of the year, the valley is suitable for hikers and those who want to take a break from the crowds of the city.

Red Leaf Valley and Ten Thousand Leaf Pagoda (万叶塔 wàn yè tǎ). Photo: dp.pconline.com.cn

Address: 山东省济南市历城区仲宫镇锦绣川水库南三公里 Admission fee: 73 yuan

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