Ji'nan Tourist Attractions
Ji'nan is situated in the west of the province of Shandong, between the Huanghe in the north and the Taishan in the south.Ji'nan is famous for its feather paintings and its woven articles.The traditional local opera (lüju) is particularly popular. It is not governed by such strict rules as the Peking Opera, so the characters tend to have more opportunities to develop.It is not known when Ji'nan was founded, only that it already existed 2700 years ago. Under the Western Han dynasty, in other words about 2100 years ago, it received its present name Ji'nan (''south of the River Ji'', which is the name the Huanghe had in antiquity). From very early on the town was well-known as a trading center and under Ming rule (1368-1644) it became the political center of the province.Ji'nan also used to be known as ''city of springs'' and a stone plaque from the Jin period (1115-1234) named 72 springs. Today there are over a hundred, with a constant temperature of 18°C (64°F).
Lake of the Great Light
In the north of the city lies the Lake of the Great Light, which extends over 46ha/114acres and receives water from several springs. Pavilions and covered walks have been erected around the lake.
The Pearl Spring (Zhenzhu Quan) is to be found in a public park to the south of the Lake of the Great Light. The visual effect of the water bubbling out of the ground resembles a chain of pearls.The regional government had its seat in the vicinity from the 15th to the 19th C.
On the south shore stretches the Fantasy Garden (Xia Yuan), which was laid out in 1909.
Many old buildings line the banks of the Lake of the Great Light. The North Pavilion (Beji Ge) on the north shore was built in the Yang period (1271-1368).
Temple of the Divine Rock
The construction of the Temple of the Divine Rock, 80km/50mi south of Ji'nan in the Changqing district, was begun under the Northern Wei (386-534) and finished under the Song (960-1279). The holy site, which used to be one of the most famous Buddhist monasteries in China, comprises 40 buildings and 500 rooms.
Hall of the Thousand Buddhas
The main hall is the Hall of the Thousand Buddhas (Qianfo Dian), dating from the Ming period (1368-1644). Among the many statues on display here the 40 Luohan clay sculptures are particularly impressive and, because of their vividness, are considered to be the finest of their type in the whole of China. There has been some controversy over when they were actually created, although most art historians believe them to date from the Song period (960-1279).
Pizhi Ta Pagoda
While visiting the temple area, one should on no account miss the 11th C octagonal Pizhi Ta Pagoda and, further to the west, the monumental Grove of the Burial Pagodas (Muta Lin) with its 167 pagodas. The oldest burial pagoda (Huizong Ta) was erected in the 8th C in honor of the monk Huizong, who lived here from 742 to 756.
Thousand Buddha Mountain
The 285m/935ft high Thousand Buddha Mountain rises up about 2.5km/1.5mi south of the city center. According to tradition, the garden of the Emperor Shun lay at the foot of this mountain. He was one of the mythical rulers of the Chinese in prehistoric times.The slopes of the mountain, the grottoes at its foot and the 7th C Monastery of the Prosperity of Life (Xingguo Si) conceal a wealth of Buddhist statues - hence its name - which are 1400 years old.Near the summit of the mountain stands the Pavilion of the Fine View (Yilan Ting). From here there is a marvelous panorama across Ji'nan.
Spring of the Black Tiger
The Spring of the Black Tiger, which was discovered in the 12th C, lies 1km/.6mi to the east of the Spring of the Vertical Jet. The water gushes out of fissures in three black rocks which form the shape of a tiger's head.
Only a few buildings remain of the old Shentong Monastery, 30km/19mi south of Ji'nan on the Mountain of the Green Dragon (Qinglong Shan).
Four Gates Pagoda
One of the remaining buildings at the Shentong Monasterys is the square Four Gates Pagoda (Simen Ta), the restoration of which in 1972 led to the discovery in the upper part of a small stone tablet in which was engraved the year in which the pagoda was built - AD 611. The 15m/49ft high alabaster building is one of the oldest stone pagodas in China.
Rock of the Thousand Buddhas
The 65m/213ft high Rock of the Thousand Buddhas (Qianfo Ya) has over 100 niches, in which 200 Buddhist sculptures, principally from the early Tang period (618-907) are stored.
Dragon and Tiger Pagoda
The Dragon and Tiger Pagoda (Longhu Ta) is the burial monument to a monk, who is thought to have lived between the 10th and 14th C. The monument is constructed out of four richly sculpted stone slabs and stands on a three-tiered base, which is also decorated with many bas-reliefs. The upper brick building has a double ledge.
There are several attractions in the Ji'nan surrounding area.