After visiting some excellent provincial museums in other cities, (such as Chongqing and Wuhan, for example), this one was very poor with some only OK exhibits housed in an appalling and decaying museum miles away from the other sights in the city. Your only way of getting here is by taxi but I wouldn't bother as it's not worth your while visiting. There is another larger provincial museum just up the road which I didn't know anything about until I did some research on Jinan after I came back. It is located in the south of Jinan, at the intersection of Li Shan Road and Jing Shiyi Road, near the Thousand Buddha Hill.
Daming Lake is located to the north of the city centre and translates as "Lake of Great Light". The water from most of the springs in the city converge to form the lake where it then empties through the North Water Gate built during the Song dynasty (960-1279). The lake itself was recorded as early as 1,500 years ago in the Annotated Book of Waters by Li Daoyuan. In 1958 the Jinan government established a park around the lake which occupies 86 hectares. The lake measures 46 hectares with six islands and has an average depth of 2m.
It is not normal for me to suggest that a 'Must See' activity is a waste of time, but here goes....
This museum should be one of China's treasures, and indeed several guidebooks highly rate its collections.
The museum is in a poor state of maintenance, and is decaying. The exhibits are poorly labelled, very badly lit and objects are grouped together haphazrdly. there are no general explanations in Chinese or English, and the only English labelling is generally unhelpful. The museum fails to educate or inform, and was staffed by surly, rude security guards who followed me around very closely with their two-way radios crackling away at high volume. Four of the rooms were not open, including the Buddhist sculptures room (allegedly one of the stars).
If you already know about the Longshan/Dawenkou culture and have an understanding of Chinese bronzeware and the Shandong region Han tomb carvings, then it is definitely worth visiting. If you do not already have a good understanding, you will learn nothing here.
Unusually, photography is prohibited in the museum.
This spring park lies just to the north of the Baotu Spring Park. Legend links the Five Dragon Pool to the Tang Dynasty general Qin Shubao, whose residence is said to have stood at the site. According to the legend, the spring pool formed after torrential rains and submersed Qin Shubao's home. The spring that supplies the water for the Five Dragon Pool belongs to a group of springs that also contains 28 other springs. The water originates from the deepest circulation of all the springs in Jinan.
This mosque is located to the west of Baotu Spring Park and dates back to the late 13th century. The mosque is located in the Muslim area of the city where you can find lots of stalls and restaurants cooking up Muslim food.
This is the most famous set of springs in Jinan and are located in the centre of the city, across the road from Quancheng Square. The existence of the Baotu Spring has been dated back more than 3,500 years to the times of the Shang Dynasty. The spring is mentioned in the Spring and Autumn Annals, the official chronicle of the ancient State of Lu and one of the Five Classics of Chinese literature. The park is home to a cluster of about 20 named springs out of a total of 72 for which the city is famed. As well as the springs, there are a whole host of buildings including pavilions, halls and teahouses.
Admission: RMB 40.
This is a lovely, well designed rectagonal square known, in English, as Spring City Square. It's located right in the middle of the city, surrounded by tall office and hotel buildings. There's a musical fountain at its eastern end where water dances to western orchestral classics to the back-drop of a two-storey colonnade.
The most famous spring in Jinan (known as "spring city"). There's also a museum about famous female Song-dynasty poet Li Qingzhao (a Jinan native) in the park.
Admission has risen to 40 RMB and some people feel that it's not worth the price though.
Jinan is known for its numerous springs. Much like Rome. The difference is while in Rome I saw most springs have been channelled into beautifully carved public taps which keep flowing, the springs remain as springs in Jinan. This Bao Tu Quan has water oozing from the eye and it thrills me to see this (April 2006).
It is unfortunate that the spring is now within the confines of a park, which costs RMB15 to enter. (you have to pay entrance ticket to almost every park in China)
Having paid a fee, the visitor would expect something out of it. So the response to that from the park authorities is to build a lot of "things" - souvenir shops, pavilions etc which to me destroy the very beauty of the park. But everybody's tastes differ, so I shouldn't really pass judgment.
The park is also houses a memorial to a very famous female poet by the name of Li Qing Zhao, a citizen of the Song dynasty (about 1000 years ago).
The Hong Jia building was built in 1905. This year is its century commemoration. It have come through too much. Hearing from old-timers, the Church had many steps what covered in soil already. Behind the church, there is bulge where is the location of holy place. In the past, the villagers around the building were living with the church in affinity. The church afford a place for their ablution, marriage, mass and so on.
Centering around springs, Baotu Spring Park is a natural rock and spring garden unique in ethnic style. Baotu Spring, the best one among the famous 72 springs in Jinan, is hailed as "the first spring under the heaven", the spring water spurts out in three prongs, with water droplets falling around, just like three piles of snow, which is very spectacular. The spring water is very sweet, optimum for making tea, which is limpid in color, rich in aroma, good in taste. Sitting under the "Watching Crane Pavilion" in the east side of the spring with a cup of tea in hand, one's mind will fly faraway and hates to leave.
Throughout history, Baotu Spring Park is the performing place for talk-show and local opera. During the weekend, some classical pieces of Peking Opera, such as "seeking a rich son-in-law" and "watch-Yangzi River pavilion", will be performed under the "White Snow Building". Tourists can also enjoy some local special opera here, like Lü Ju and Liuzi Opera.
"Bamboo Woods Garden" takes a land of 18 Mu and the garden got its name in the Yuan Dynasty, when the garden was very large and full of bamboo. In the garden lie some famous springs, including Wangshui Spring, Donggao Spring and Baiyun Spring, four pavilions, five bridges and one flower garden. In 1985, the Memorial Hall of Li Kuchan was established here and now the "Bamboo Grove Garden" is attached to the Baotu Spring Park.
The name of Daming Lake was first recorded in the Annotated Book of Waters written by Li Daoyuan, a writer in the Northern Wei Dynasty. The park takes an area of 86 ha., with the lake covering 46.5 ha. Inside the park, willows queue around the lake with lotus overlapping on the lake. For its beauty, Daming Lake has been the converging place for celebrities throughout history. In 13 century, the Italian traveler, Mark Polo marveled here as "what a beautiful landscape of lake and rocks." In the center of the lake perches the Lixia Pavilion, upon which hangs the horizontal name scroll written by an ancient emperor and the vertical scroll, "Old is the pavilion in central China and many are celebrities in Jinan", written by Du Fu. With some other scenic spots dotted inside, such as "Rest Garden", "Jiaxuan Temple" and "Beiji Temple", the Lake has become very popular among tourists from home and abroad.
Jinan has a lot of colonial architecture, a legacy of the occupation by both Germany and Japan in the early part of the 20th century. However, a lot of it seems to be under threat from new developments, and the area between the station and the old town is already being demolished very quickly.
One particular building of note is the Jinan Railway Company's administration building which is on the opposite side of the block of buildings facing the current station. Frances Wood maintains that the original Bavarian style station was demolished, but I am not sure if she knows that or is just guessing because the current railway station is very modern. I think that the administration building IS the original building and the railway has been realigned to the north by 100 metres. Annoyingly I forgot to get a photograph of it, and would be grateful if anyone else has a photo and could send me a copy!
If you wander around the area to the south and south east of the station there are some good colonial buildings, but I have no information about their origin!
My fondest memory of Jinan is the southern moat, which stretches for several kilometres between Baotuquan and the Heihu area. The city has landscaped the surroundings and the resulting stone and marble walkways make for a relaxing walk for several hours, stopping to admire the many springs.
The local people come to fill all manner of bottles, containers, kettles and buckets with the fresh, pure water. Whole families join in, using kettles or small tin buckets to scoop up the water as it emerges into small pools. Each spring and most of the pools have their own name and legend.
The Nine Fairies Pool is the one spring on the north side, all other pools and springs are on the southern bank, but there are a number of bridges across.
On the very south-western corner of the moat is a substantial, wedding-cake guard tower, but I do not know what is inside or even whether it is original. The "Blue Guide" for China doesn't even mention it, so I guess it is a replica. Still, it is an impressive reminder of Jinan's troubled past.
Jinan is world-famous across China for its springs, and emperors, kings and heads of state have made tracks to Jinan for a swift glass of Jinan's finest.
Baotu (Fountain Spring) is now inside a very nice park, where twelve of Jinan's 72 springs issue from the ground.
The actual Baotu is three speings which bubble up into a square pond, surrounded by pavilions and a teahouse. Other springs around the park pour from under rocks, from huge concrete tanks, and into a succession of beautiful little ponds and lakes. The whole garden is a classic example of north China garden style, so it is a very different scene from the gardens of Suzhou, Hangzhou or the Summer Palace (which is modelled on the south China style). Here in Jinan, the garden uses rocks, and water surfaces together with tighter vistas and careful planting of individual specimens to create the desired effect.
The park is a haven for Jinan's people and is always crowded, yet somehow this just adds to the atmosphere rather than spoiling it.