Jinan: China’s City of Springs

Located at the confluence of the Yellow River valley and the celebrated Mount Tai Shan, Jinan is China’s most beautiful city endowed with attractive natural heritage.

The modern cosmopolitan culture brewing through the city dwells well with its historic glory and cultural heritage spanning over two millenniums. The famed pre-historic Longshan culture took birth at ancient Jinan and laid the foundation of the Chinese Silk tradition that defined national cultural and economic heritage for centuries. A center of Confucian learning from ancient times, Jinan became the focal point of the distinct Lu culture during the Zhou China and continued it unique identity over the last 2,000 years.

History of Jinan

Early History

Archeological findings suggest Jinan, China’s City of Springs, flourished 4,000 years ago as the center of Longshan Neolithic culture known for its intricate egg-shell pottery. The beginning of metropolis culture, rice cultivation and sericulture are important legacy of these people that defined the essence of China’s culture in the coming years. Jinan was home to Bian Que, the father of Chinese medicine, who lived around 500 BC. Philosopher Zou Yan, who founded Yin- Yang or the naturalistic school through his concept “Five Elements” lived in the vicinity of the city.

Jinan was bifurcated by Lu and Qi clans during the Spring and Autumn Era and continued to remain under dual influence until the rise of imperial Qin Dynasty. This was a blessing in disguise and the city became the center of a new culture created by fusion of Qi and Lu inheritances. Qin Shi Huang, after becoming the emperor, constructed the Great Wall close to the city and its remnants are visible even today.

Jinan: China’ Cultural City

Jinan China

Jinan became a center of culture and economy during the Han Dynasty. It was capital by tributary Jibei Kingdom. Archeological discoveries from the Tomb of Liu Kuan, the last Jibei ruler, indicate how Jinan was endowed with magnificent culture and wealth at that time. Cao Cao, a city official, was the guiding force behind the last Han emperor. His son founded the Wei Kingdom after overthrowing the Han Dynasty.

Jinan, China’s cultural heart of the time, became a foremost center of Buddhism during the 5th century AD. The Langgong Temple, the Thousand-Buddha Cliff, the Lingyan Temple and numerous Buddhist caves were constructed in and around the city during this period. The Langgong Temple, also known as Shentong Temple, became a scared symbol throughout the country. The Song Dynasty promoted it as center of culture and religion. Famed female poet Li Qingzhao and General Xin Qiji, two prominent Song-era personalities, were from Jinan.

Jinan History: Yuan to Advent of Communists

Jinan was the last Chinese city that stood against Mongol domination over China. Governor Li Tan fought against the army of Kublai Khan and made his last stand at Jinan in April 1262. The Yuan ruler of Beijing appointed renowned artist Zhao Mengfu as the governor of the city in 1293 and the cultural development saw its zenith under his patronage. He made some of his best known paintings during his three-year stint at Jinan.

The Ming Dynasty made Jinan the capital of Shandong Province and connected it to other important centers of China. The Germans established a colony in the city in 1897 and started construction of railways which made Jinan a center of transportation. The city was a center of upheavals during the Boxer Rebellion, but overcame it to become an important cotton, grain and tobacco trading destination by 1915. Japan occupied Jinan in 1919 and again in 1937. The Kuomintang forces liberated it in 1945 and three year later the city fall to the communist People's Liberation Army following defections in the nationalist ranks during the battle.

Jinan: China’s Cultural Legacy

Jinan is one amongst selected cities that shaped Chinese cultural heritage. The Shandong Provincial Museum in Jinan is China’s best exhibition of its unique culture. Longshan and Lu artifacts show the developed skills of people who inhabited the city in earlier times. The Langgong Temple and Mount Tai were among the most revered places in China and continues to be part of its heritage. The foremnost among Buddhist religious centers, Jinan is also renowned for Shandong cuisine, annual Lantern Festival, and the Double-Nine Festival. It is home to 72 natural springs, including magnificent Baotu Spring, gardens and the Daming Lake known as for its beautiful landscape.

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