About Us | Contact Us | Feedback
Powered by a China travel agency - Easy Tour China Tel: +86-773-3810160 USA/CA:1-888 666 0951
Home > Destinations > Shandong > Jinan


Jinan is a sub-provincial city and the capital of Shandong Province in China. The area of present-day Jinan has played an important role in the history of the region from the earliest beginnings of civilization and has evolved into a major national administrative, economic, and transportation hub. The city is located in north-western Shandong about 400 kilometres (250 mi) south of the national capital of Beijing, it borders Liaocheng to the southwest, Dezhou to the northwest, Binzhou to the northeast, Zibo to the east, Laiwu to the southeast, and Tai'an to the south.

Geography and Cimate
Jinan is located in the north-western part of Shandong province at 36° 40′ northern latitude and 116° 57′ east of Greenwich. In the relief of the region, the city occupies a transition zone between the northern foothills of the Taishan Massif to the south of the city and the valley of the Yellow River to the north. Karst aquifers in limestone formations sloping down from the south to the north give rise to many artesian springs in the city area. Because Jinan's geographical location falls within the warm temperate continental monsoon climate zone, Jinan has four distinct seasons. The city is dry and rainless in spring, hot and rainy in summer, crisp in autumn and dry and cold in winter. The average annual temperature is 14.2°C, and the annual rainfall is around 675 mm. January is the coldest and driest month, the monthly averages are -5.4°C for the daily minimum temperature, 3.6°C for the daily maximum temperature, and 6.6 mm for the rainfall. July is the warmest and wettest month, the corresponding numbers are 23.5°C, 32.6°C, and 190.9 mm (Source: The Global Historical Climatology Network, version 2 beta, covering 874 months between 1916 and 1990). Temperature Inversions are common occurrences (about 200 days per year)

The area of present-day Jinan has been inhabited for more than 4000 years. The Neolithic Longshan Culture was first discovered at the Chengziya (城子崖) site to the east of Jinan (Zhangqiu City) in 1928. One of the characteristic features of the Longshan Culture are the intricate wheel-made pottery pieces it produced. Most renown is the black "egg-shell pottery" with wall thicknesses that can go below 1 millimeter.

Great Wall of Qi in Changqing, Jinan; Jade mask recovered from Tombs of Han Dynasty in Shuangru Mountain, Jinan. Autumn Colors on the Qiao and Hua Mountains, left halfDuring the Spring and Autumn Period (722 B.C. - 481 B.C.) and Warring States Period (475 B.C - 221 B.C.), the area of Jinan was split between two states - the state of Lu in the west and the state of Qi in the east. In 685 B.C., the state of Qi started to build the Great Wall of Qi  across Changqing county. Portions of the wall still remain today and are accessible as open air museums. Bian Que), according to the legend the earliest Chinese physician and active around 500 B.C., is said to have been a native of present-day Changqing County. Zou Yan (305 B.C - 240 B.C), a native of Zhangqiu City, developed the concepts of Yin-Yang and the Five Elements*.

During the times of the Han Dynasty (206 B.C. - 220 A.D.), Jinan was the capital of the Kingdom of Jibei and evolved into the cultural and economic hub of the region. The Han Dynasty tomb where the last king of Jibei, Liu Kuan, was buried at Shuangru Mountain was excavated by archaeologists from Shandong University in 1995 and 1996. More than 2000 artifacts such as jade swords, jade masks, jade pillows have been recovered within the 1,500 square meter excavation site, emphasizing the wealth of the city during the period. Cao Cao (155 A.D - 220 A.D) was an official in Jinan before he became the de facto ruler of the Han Dynasty. His son overthrew the last emperor of the Han and founded the Wei Kingdom (220 A.D - 265 A.D) of the Three Kingdoms Period.

Since the 5th century, Buddhism had flourished in Jinan. The Langgong Temple (Lǎnggōng Sì, later renamed Shentong Temple) in the southern county of Licheng was one of the most important temples in northern China at that time. The same period witnessed extensive construction of Buddhist sites in the southern counties of Licheng and Changqing such as the Lingyan Temple and the Thousand-Buddha Cliff. In particular, a large number cave temples were established in the hills south of Jinan.

Jinan remained the cultural center of the region during the Song Dynasty (960 A.D - 1279 A.D). The Song rulers promoted Jinan to a superior prefecture in 1116. Two of the most important poets of the Southern Song were both born in Jinan: Li Qingzhao (1084 - 1151 A.D), the most renown female poet in Chinese history, and Xin Qiji (1140 - 1207 A.D.), who was also a military leader of the Southern Song Dynasty. Both poets witnessed a series of crushing defeats of the Song Dynasty at the hands of the Jurchens who gained control over almost half of the Song territories and established the Jin Dynasty in northern China. After Jinan came under control of the Jin Dynasty, both Li Qingzhao and Xin Qiji had to abandon their homes and reflected this experience in their works.

During the Jin (1115 - 1234 A.D.) and Yuan (1271 - 1368 A.D.) Dynasties, culture in Jinan continued to thrive. One of the most renown artists of the Yuan Dynasty, Zhao Mengfu (1254 - 1322 A.D) was appointed to the post of governor of Jinan in 1293 A.D. and spent three years in the city. Among the extraordinary art works he completed during his stay in Jinan, the best known painting is "Autumn Colors on the Qiao and Hua Mountains" . Geographer Yu Qin (1284 A.D - 1333 A.D) also served as an official in Jinan and authored his geography book Qi Cheng there.

When Shandong Province was established in the Ming Dynasty, Jinan became its capital.
In 1852, the northward shift of the Yellow River into a new bed close to the city triggered the modern expansion of Jinan. The new course of the Yellow River connected the city to the Grand Canal and regional waterways in northern Shandong and southern Hebei.

German influence in Jinan grew after the Qing Dynasty ceded Qingdao to the German Empire in 1897. A German concession area was established to the west of the historical city center (in the vicinity of the Jinan Railway Station first established by the Germans). The Jiaoji (Qingdao-Jinan) railway was built by the Germans against local resistance. Discontent over the construction of the railway was one of the sources fueling the Boxer Rebellion (1899-1901). During the rebellion, foreign priests were evacuated from Jinan and Chinese Christians became a target of violence. The Jiao-Ji railway was completed in 1904, three years after the Boxer Rebellion had been put down, and opened the city to foreign trade. The importance of Jinan as a transportation hub was cemented with the completion of the north-south Jinpu railway from Tianjin to Pukou in 1912. Jinan became a major trading center for agricultural goods in northern China. Traded commodities included cotton, grain, peanuts, and tobacco. Jinan also developed into a major industrial center, taking the second place in the province after Qingdao.

In 1919, after the First World War, the Japanese took over the German sphere of influence in Shandong, including control of the Jiaoji railway, and established a significant Japanese colony in Jinan. According to estimates by a contemporary Japanese government official, about 2,000 Japanese were living in Jinan in 1931, about half of which were involved in the opium trade for which the Japanese had a loosely controlled monopoly that was exploited with the participation of Chinese traders.

During the Warlord era of the Republic of China, Zhang Zongchang, nick-named the "Dogmeat General", ruled Shandong from Jinan for a period that lasted from April 1925 until May 1928. Zhang was unpopular for his heavy-handed rule and in particular his heavy taxation. Besides heavy taxes, he relied financially on opium to finance his periodic wars. Zhang even planned to use some of the wealth extracted from these sources for building a living shrine and a large bronze statue for himself on the shore of Daming Lake, but these plans were not realized as his rule came to an end.

In the spring of 1928, the Kuomintang's Northern Expedition reached Jinan. On May 3, 1928, clashes developed between Japanese troops stationed in Jinan and the Kuomintang troops moving into the city (Jinan Incident). Cai Gongshi, a Kuomintang emissary sent to negotiate and members of his entourage were executed by the Japanese. In response to the incidence, Japanese reinforcements were sent to Shandong and Japanese troops occupied Jinan for more than six months until they withdrew to their garrison in Tsingtao on the 28th of March 1929. During the Nanjing decade of the Republic of China, Han Fuju, a military commander form the warlord era who had aligned himself with the Kuomintang, became military governor of Shandong. He established his base in Jinan and is credited with curtailing banditry and drug trading, thereby bringing a measure of peace and prosperity to the city. However, from 1935 onwards Han was under heavy pressure from the Japanese consul in Jinan to declare Shandong an "independent state" allied with Japan.

After the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War, the Japanese invasion force crossed the Yellow River 60 kilometers north-east of Jinan on December 23, 1937. Han Fuju abandoned Jinan on the next day against orders to hold the city to the death[8]. He ordered the offices of the provincial government and the Japanese consulate in Jinan to be burned down and the ensuing power vacuum led to widespread looting in the city. Japanese Troops entered Jinan on December 27, 1937.

Monument commemorating the war dead of the battle of Jinan on Hero HillJapanese troops controlled Jinan until their defeat in 1945. After this, the Kuomintang regained a short-lived control of the city during the period from 1946 to 1948. The provincial government during this time was led by Lieutenant-General Wang Yaowu, who also commanded the KMT army in the region. KMT rule over Jinan ended in September 1948 when units of the People's Liberation Army under the command of Chen Yi took the city. The battle for Jinan took a decisive turn in favor of the attackers when General Wu Huawen defected to the Communist side with about 8,000 of his troops. The most likely explanation for his defection is that he had been pressured through relatives of his who were held captive by the Communist forces. General Wu had been in charge of the vital outer ring of defenses that protected the main airfield, the railroad station, and the commercial district. With these critical assets lost, the situation of the city's defenders became untenable. Following the weakening of the city's defenses, the People's Liberation Army breached the city wall and entered Jinan on September 24, 1948. In March 1966, the largest among the drawn-out sequence of earthquakes that made up the Xingtai Earthquake damaged about 36,000 houses in Jinan.

Language and Culture
Local residents in the city proper, as well as in the surrounding areas, have traditionally spoken the Jinan dialect of Mandarin that is not readily understood even by native speakers of standard Mandarin. The younger people of Jinan are more likely to speak standard Mandarin, whereas many older residents retain strong local dialect elements in their speech. Nevertheless, even the younger residents of Jinan tend to retain a strong local accent and mix local vocabulary into the standardized Mandarin vocabulary. Jinan has its own cuisine, the Jinan style of the Lu cuisine, one the Eight Culinary Traditions of China.

Pavilion in the 10,000 Bamboo Garden of Baotu Spring Park
Five Dragon Pool
Four Gates Pagoda
Quancheng Square at Night
The Thousand Buddha Mountain, a religious landmark in JinanJinan is renown across China for its numerous springs, the lakes fed by the spring water, and the weeping willows that grow along the water edges. The late-Qing author Liu E describes Jinan's cityscape in his novel "The Travels of Lao Can" (Chinese pinyin: Lǎo Cán Yóujì, written 1903-04, published in 1907) as "Every family has spring water, every household has a willow tree" . Jinan was also the historical center of Buddhist culture for the whole province which is still manifest in the many historic sites that are left behind in its southern counties.

Springs and Lakes
Jinan is known as the "City of Springs" because of the large number of natural artesian springs. The majority of the springs, many of which have been historically listed under the "72 Famous Springs" are concentrated in the downtown district and flow north to converge in Daming Lake. The Baotu Spring Park is the most popular of the springs in the City of Jinan proper. Besides the Baotu Spring, the park contains several other springs that are listed among the "72 Famous Springs". "Baotu" means "jumping and leaping" in Chinese. The water in the spring pool can be seen foaming and gushing, looking like a pot of boiling water. The spring was visited by the Emperor Qian Long (1711 A.D - 1799 A.D) of the Qing Dynasty who declared it "the first spring under the heaven". A tablet with the Emperor's handwriting "Baotu Spring" has since been erected beside the spring pool.

Not far away to the northeast of Baotu Spring Park is the Daming Lake, which, together with Baotu Spring and the Thousand-Buddha Mountain  is often regarded as the "Three Greatest Attractions in Jinan". Other notable parks in the city include the Five Dragon Pool near the Baotu Spring Park, the Black Tiger Spring on the southern city moat, and the Baimai Springs of Zhangqiu City to the east of Jinan.

Buddhist Sites
Historic Buddhist sites are particularly common in Licheng County to the south-east of the city center of Jinan. The Four Gates Pagoda, built in 661 A.D., is the oldest existing one-story stone tower in China. The pagoda houses four Buddhist statues dating from the 6th century, and the Cypress tree standing next to the pagoda is more than 1000 years old. Below the hill on which pagoda stands lie the remnants of the Shentong Temple, which was founded in the 4th century but was destroyed in the wars of later dynasties. The funerary stelae of monks from the temple which date from different historic periods display remarkable artistic features. The statues in the nearby Thousand-Buddha Cliff form one of the best collections of Tang Dynasty Buddhist statues in the region.

The Lingyan Temple in the southern county of Changqing was one of the four most famous temples of the Tang Dynasty. The temple was founded during the Jin Dynasty and reached its heyday during the Tang and Song Dynasties. During the Tang Dynasty, the famous monk Xuan Zang stayed in the temple and translated Buddhist manuscripts he had brought to China from India. Many emperors in Chinese history visited the temple before they went to Mount Tai (one of China's five sacred mountains, located south of Jinan) for ceremonies. The clay sculptures of Buddhas made in the Song Dynasty are considered as "The Best of China" by the great scholar and journalist Liang Qichao (1873 A.D - 1929 A.D). Buddhist architectures within the temple such as pagodas and tomb stelae are among the earliest and best protected in the region.

Museums and Libraries
The Shandong Provincial Museum located at the foothill of Thousand-Buddha Mountain is the largest museum in the province. It has a large collection of natural as well as historical treasures from the whole province. The museum was established in its present form in 1982 and right now it has 8 exhibition halls - "Treasures of Shandong Province", "Stone Sculptures", "Warship of the Ming Dynasty", "Ancient Coins", "Art Treasures", "Fossil Collections", "Dinosaurs" and "Specimens". The museum has more than 210,000 relics and specimens, making up 1/3 of the collections in museums of whole province. The Shandong Provincial Museum has been ranked No. 7 in terms of collection size among the museums of China.

The Jinan Municipal Museum is located at the south-western foot of the Thousand-Buddha Mountain, in the north of the city center. Although much smaller than the provincial museum, the municipal museum still houses a collection of more than 20,000 items, most of which were recovered in the city area.

The Shandong Provincial Library in the eastern High-tech Park (address: 2912 Second Ring East Road) is the principal library of the province and is ranked among the Top 10 Chinese libraries. As of 2004, the library had more than 5.18 million documents, many of which date back many centuries and are important sources for research on Chinese history. The library also has a large collection of western journals/books. Originally, the library was built close to Daming Lake in 1909 by the then governor of Shandong. In the late 1990s, a project was undertaken to move the library to the eastern part of the city, and it reopened in 2002 with 35 reading rooms and more than 2000 seats.

*Five Elements: The five elements are wood, fire, earth, metal and water. They were selected based on the observations of ancient Chinese philosophers who theorized that the natural world embodied these elemental characteristics.

Questions & Comments

Name (* required)
Mail (will not be published) (* required)

Please click to verify: