Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Qingdao
Qingdao View slideshowQingdao is situated on the Yellow Sea, in the east of Shandong province.
The town boasts one of China's major sea ports, which is free of ice all the year round, and it is also the chief industrial center of Shandong province.Qingdao is known for its mineral water from Mount Laoshan (Laoshan Kuanghuanshui).Qingdao's mild climate and beautiful, clean beaches attract both Chinese and foreign tourists.Qingdao (''Green Island'') was a small trading port as long ago as the Song era (960-1279). From 1874 onwards it grew in strategic importance as first fortifications and then military harbor installations were built. After 1898, when Germany enforced a 99-year lease for the Jiazhou region, Qingdao soon developed into a German town. Houses built in the contemporary turn-of-the-century style still characterize large parts of the town today. The town was occupied by the Japanese during the First World War and was promised to them when the war ended; this led to the formation of the May 4th Protest Movement in 1919. It was 1922 before Qingdao was returned to China.Since the 1950s Qingdao has shown rapid industrial development.
Zhanshan Temple, also situated in the east of the town and encircled by hills, was built in 1934 and is the only Buddhist edifice in Qingdao. In the eastern section of the complex towers an octagonal stone pagoda of seven stories.
The main attraction of the city, for the numerous Chinese summer guests who visit Qingdao, are the houses of the old town that were constructed in the German style.The following buildings and complexes are particularly remarkable:Although the station was reconstructed in the 1920s, the new building was adorned with the facade and the tower of the original German station built in 1900-1901.Until 1914, the main shopping street, Sun-Yat-sen Street, in the old town was called Friedrichstrasse. There are still many of buildings here, for example the sailors' house at the corner of Hubei Lu (Kronprinzenstrasse).A little further north stands St Michael's Cathedral. Although this Catholic church with two towers (54m/177ft high) had a German architect it was not built until 1931-1934 in the Neo-Romanesque style.The riverside walk (Kaiser Wilhelm promenade) runs east from the pier. Several old buildings are preserved, including a hotel and the former headquarters of the German Asiatic Bank.Government House, the largest and most imposing building in the old town, is situated on the southern slopes of Government Hill, facing the riverside walk, with a view of Qingdao Lu (formerly Wilhelmstrasse). It was completed in 1906, and later became the town hall. In 1989 the building was doubled in size by a mirrored copy on the mountainside.The Protestant Christ's Church east of Government House was built in 1908-1910 in the historical German art nouveau style.The most spectacular of the German buildings in town is the Governor's Residence, situated on the slope of Signal Hill. Its interior is almost completely preserved, and today it is a hotel.
In all there are seven bathing beaches (Haishui Yuchang), the most popular being those numbered 1, 2 and 3.The largest is Beach No. 1, in the south of the town, which is 580m/640yd long. No. 2 is a little way further east, where more than 80 hotels and health clinics lie in a row. About 1km/.5mi further east still is Beach No. 3, which is not as large as the other two.
This market in Jimo Street (Jimolu Schichang), in the town center, is renowned for the rich array of goods on sale. It is estimated that some 200,000 people visit it every day. As well as Laoshan mineral water, old furniture, second-hand bicycles, straw baskets and much, much more is here to tempt the buyer.
The pier (Qianhai Zhanqiao), the main attraction for all visitors to Qingdao, juts 440m/1320ft from the coastal promenade into the sea. At the end it has a Chinese pavilion. A pier was first built here in 1891; it was extended to its present-day length and size in 1931.
Pavilion of the Rebounding Waves
At the southern end of the pier stands the octagonal Pavilion of the Rebounding Waves, built in classical Chinese style. Inside, a spiral staircase leads up to the upper story.The pier and this pavilion are regarded as Qingdao's emblems.
Lu Xun Gongyuan Park
This park, named after the writer Lu Xun lies in the south of the town on a rocky promontory close by the sea, and gives a wonderful view over the water.
The Marine Museum (Haichan Bowuguan) in Lu Xun Gongyuan Park is divided into two sections. In one section the exhibits cover the development of marine creatures and plant life, while the other houses an aquarium.
Little Green Isle
South of the Marine Museum a pier leads to the Little Green Isle (Xiaoqing Dao), on which stands a lighthouse 15m/50ft high.
Sun-Yat-sen Park, Qingdao's largest, lies in the east of the town.The beautiful plants which grow there make it a favorite place for outings.
Mount Laoshan, around which countless legends have been woven, lies 30km/19mi northeast of Qingdao and falls steeply away towards the coast. Its tallest peak, Laoding, reaches a height of 1133m/3720ft. The mountain, rich in mineral water springs, displays bizarre rock formations, waterfalls and caves.Many years ago it was revered as the ''Home of Eternal Life'', where grew magic herbs which could cure all known diseases and make man immortal. It was in order to search for these wondrous plants that the Qin Emperor Shi Huangdi (259-210 BC) and the Han Emperor Wudi (156-87 BC) climbed this mountain. In the 8th C the Tang Emperor Xuanzong sent two high officials to find and collect the magical herbs and to prepare for him the Elixir of Life. After the 10th C more and more Taoist monasteries sprung up here, but most of them were destroyed in later years.
Taoist Temple of Supreme Purity (Lower Temple)
The Taoist Temple of Supreme Purity (Taiqing Gong), or Lower Temple (Xia Gong), stands near the coast at the southeastern foot of Mount Laoshan. It dates originally from the Song period (960-1279), but the present buildings were built during the reign of the Emperor Wanli (1573-1620).The two stone tablets on the walls of the Hall of the Three Emperors (Sanhuang Dian) contain two inscriptions, one by Kublai Khan and the other by Genghis Khan. There is a superb view of the sea from here.
Temple of Great Purity
The Temple of Great Purity (Shangqing Gong), or Upper Temple (Shang Gong) - built between 1297 and 1307 but later extended several times - lies up above the Temple of Supreme Purity, on the southeastern slope of Mount Laoshan. In front of the temple stand some ginkgo trees which are several hundred years old.South of the Temple of Great Purity the Longtan Pu Waterfall plunges down from a height of 20m/66ft.
Temple of Huayan Si
The Temple of Huayan Si, on the eastern slopes, is the region's only Buddhist temple. The original mid-17th C building was soon destroyed during subsequent wars and was rebuilt a number of years later.The Jiushui river, some 12km/7.5mi long, snakes its way through the northern part of Mount Laoshan. Waterfalls, rock formations and monuments combine to make this region quite idyllic.
Temple of Supreme Peace
The Temple of Supreme Peace (Taiping Gong) on the northern slopes of Mount Laoshan was built in the Song period (960-1279) and has been restored several times. It is known for the strange stone formations which encircle it.
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