The Granite Mansion, another stately residence, was built for the German governors. Its Chinese name is Huashilou, the architecture a blend of the neo-classical and Gothic . This granite architecture, once the symbol of authority, was built in 1906 as the German Governor’s office building. The building became the seat of Qingdao Municipal Government after the liberation of the city.
Zhanqiao Pier is the symbol of Qingdao, originally completed in 1891 as a naval pier and expanded by the Germans in 1897. It is accompanied by a two-story Chinese pavilion and the impressive Zhan Bridge. The pavilion stands in contrast to the European architecture in the background. The bay, islands and lighthouse make it an enchanting location and a hub of activity.
Built in 1934, this authentic Gothic style cathedral with twin spires and stained glass windows is testament to the strong German influence in Qingdao many decades ago. Thousands of Chinese Catholics still attend mass there.
The longest and most popular beach in Qingdao. However it is usually packed with people and you probably don't want to stay too long unless you like to jostle for space. It could be a good place to people watch though, especially if you're planning to visit the nearby Lu Xun park or Navy Museum. Equipment rentals are available.
I was there in winter - hence the promenade was busy - yet the beach not...
The brewery was founded in 1903 as the Germania-Brauerei to brew beer in the German tradition mainly for Germans and other Westerners in China.
In 1915 the brewery was taken over from the cooperation of Chinese and German owners and their hired managers and until 1945 was under Japanese management.
After the defeat of Japan in World War II the Tsingtao Brewery was turned into a Chinese brewery under ownership of the Tsui family and supervision of the Nationalist government in Nanjing. However, this period of ownership only lasted until 1949 when the People's Republic of China was founded and the company became a state-owned enterprise.
The company was privatized in the early '90s and in 1993 merged with three other breweries in Qingdao and was finally renamed Tsingtao Brewery Company Limited. Today one can find Tsingtao Beer all over the world - I even found a picture inside the brewery of Pretoria / South Africa.
The impressive Town Hall, or Municipal Government Office of Tsingtao was built in 1904 by the German administration. During the history the Japanese took control from here and later the Chinese. In a 1989 reconstruction effort, the ivy was removed and the entire building was replicated. From the front there is an unobstructed view down a wide avenue to the sea.
The construction began in 1905 and not finished until 1907.
The architecture is "Jugensteil", popular at that time in Germany, and what I heard is this is rare now in Germany due to the war.
Built up area: 4000 sq m, when an average modern apartment in Qingdao now (2006) is 100 sq m.
This was about the only place equipped with electricity supply.
It's got an indoor garden. (Imagine how this colonial governor spent the money)
Cost a lot of money to build this essentric palace at that time.
Furniture from Stuttgart. A lot of elaborate fruits (especially bundles of grapes) carvings on its fixtures and fittings.
Entrance fee: RMB15
One day we went to a whole different area of Quingdao where there was an indoor market selling fake brand-names of all sorts. It was amazing really, many floors filled with only fake brand-name bags and stuff, the same stuff probably they sell on the beach in Spain f.ex. We went there with a guide and decided on staying behind to have a look at this part of Quingdao, as we were staying in the posh part of it. People bought so much stuff there and the day after some of them came back, and by then the prices were double what they had been the day before.
In that area were also The Communist run stores, which were immaculate, but the atmosphere was really cold.
We walked in some side-streets, some of which were filled with fish, which was laid out straight on the side-walk. To our surprise Serbian music was being played in one of the bars we passed, not something I had expected in this area.
We had the hardest time getting back to the hotel as there was absolutely no taxi which was not occupied and we were getting really desperate, it was getting dark and the traffic was like something I had never seen before. We were finally able to hitch a ride on a taxi with a passenger which took us for a big detour of the city to drop the passenger off. Fortunatly we had been given a laminated card with the name of the hotel and written in Chinese that we needed to go there ;)
The city's main thoroughfare and historic district - it is filled with shops, department stalls, restaurants, cinemas and more. Qingdao's strong colonial heritage is evident from the numerous European style buildings and cobblestone-paved small alleys.
Climb the Xin4 Hao4 (Signal) Mountain.
It is only 100m, and along the way you see all sorts of plants. Plenty of greenery.
Once you get to the top you climb an ugly red building onto a floor which revolves, so you get to see a 360 degree view of the old town. Splendid.
Also, at the car park you can see the Governor's house from a distance. That makes it look like a toy house. Very pretty.
Entrance ticket: RMB15
There is a wooden walkway to the east of the bathing beach. Just walk it. Great view of the sea and of the colonial houses on your left. You can also see people taking bridal pictures (Yuk, how dirty their gowns are). Best of all, it costs nothing.
The beautiful ball on top of this building constantly changed colours, making it a mesmerizing sight.
It was located opposite our hotel and I couldn´t take my eyes of it at night. Back then I owned a digital camera with only 63 photos and too many of them I spent on taking photos of this tower. But it was really amazing... or maybe I am just a child at heart.
There are six beaches in Qingdao (numbered from #1 to #6) though in my trip I was able to identify only four: #1, #2, #3 and #6. They are all metropolitan beaches with brown sand, grey-colored water and ships and cargoes at the horizon. The sea here is so shallow that you can hardly swim. Qingdao is promoted as a premier beach destination and you will likely read or hear of "soft sand and clear water" that can compete with this or that tropical paradise. My advice would be of not expecting much or you will remain disappointed.
Beach #1 and #2 are the more popular with tourists, with #1 larger and trendier (I have read it can host up to 200,000 people) and #2 more secluded and cozy. Both beaches are serviced with changing rooms, toilets and other public facilities and have easy access to shops and eateries. At time of my visit you had to pay a small fee to access #2. Beach #2 is also popular with newlyweds taking their wedding photos. You can walk from one to the other in ~20 minutes via the boardwalk, a pleasant walk if the sun is not too high.
In the Historical Town, very close to the train station, Beach #6 is popular with day trippers. This is the most colorful and hectic beach with plenty of street vendors selling every kind of food and merchandise and people contending a spot on the sand and the sea (photo on my Cover Page was taken in a Sunday morning here). At night, a crowd will gather in search for seashells in the shallow water off the beach.
Beach #3 overlooks the new part of town, with views of skyscrapers and the marina. Less popular, it is a good alternative to #1 or #2. It is reached from #2 by a ~30-minute walk via the boardwalk, in direction opposite to #1. If you are a good walker (and the weather is with you), you can walk from #1 to #2 and #3 and check them all out. As an alternative, hail a taxi and they will get you there.
Beach #2 is the one I enjoyed the most and, for some exchange with other foreigners, the beach of choice of many foreigners, especially Westerners.
Qingdao Historical Town is quite unique in the landscape of Chinese towns. If features some remarkable example of German architecture of early XX Century as well as a pleasant promenade along the Bay.
The most remarkable legacy of German days is the Christian Church, located on the top of a hill, featuring with the two red-colored bell towers each one topped by a big cross. The Church Square is surrounded by few historical buildings in Continental Europe style. Few other historical buildings may be found in the nearby Zhongshan Road, supposedly a major shopping street but in the essence nothing special. There is also a Protestant Church nearby, that I missed.
The Bay is the most attractive part of the Historical Town and features a boardwalk and the landmark of Qingdao, the Zhan Bridge, the pier built the Germans in the early 1900 with at its end a Chinese style octagon pavilion. The Zhan Bridge, a favorite of Qingdao evening strolling, is especially lively at night, when it gets crowded with people and souvenir vendors. I read that locals say that you can not know the real Qingdao if you have not gone to the Zhan Bridge.
Qingdao's Badaguan Villa District is considered one of the most beautiful urban districts in China.
Built originally as the German residential area, people come into town from different Western countries complemented the Bavarian villas with other villas built in their own national styles, creating a medley of architectural styles that today still remains. Today Badaguan features ten streets lined with ~100 classical French, German, Russian, Dutch, English and other Western-style villas. Each street is lined with single type of tree and flowers so that locals say that whoever comes to Badaguan will never lose his way because the flowers and trees will be his guide.
Badaguan is a perfect place for a relaxing stroll during the day hours in a pleasant natural scenery. It is also close to the Bathing Beach #2, providing chance to spend some time walking before or after some time at the beach.