Attraction of the week

The Ancient City of Dali (Dàlǐ Gǔchéng, 大理古城), or Dali Old Town, is another great example of ancient and modern fusing together in China. The architecture is indeed ancient with...


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A neo-Romanesque Catholic church built by German missionaries in 1934, St. Michael’s Cathedral (Shèng Mígé'ěr Zhǔjiào Zuòtáng, 圣彌格爾主教座堂) sits atop a hill in Qingdao which today finds itself at the end of a road lined with beer stalls. The white walls of the looming church interior are lined with gold trimming, dotted by stained glass windows and decorated by colorful murals. The large pipe organ in the back stands as a reminder of the great pipe organ the church once..

Originally built in 1892 as a wharf, the Zhan Qiao Pier was expanded and repaired twice, once in 1931 and then again in 1985. Made of reinforced concrete and extending some 440 meters, the Zhan Qiao Pier is one of the most popular attractions in Qingdao, its octagonal Ripple Diverging Pavilion, "hui lai ko," the most recognizable structure on the pier. The Zhan Qiao Pier is also famous as the location of the Tsingtao beer sign.

Formerly part of the Qingdao's short-lived German-concession, Xiao Qingdao (Xiǎo Qīngdǎo, 小青岛), or "Little Qingdao," was officially open to the public in 1987, after its previous incarnation as a restricted military area. Originally connected to the mainland via isthumus, Xiao Qingdao now stands alone, after years of rising sea levels. The most recognizable attraction on the island is a white, marble lighthouse that dates back to the German era. There are also marvelous botanical gardens that feature the rare Twilight Lily, also called the..

Formerly ground zero for Qingdao's annual International Beer Festival (Guójì Píjiǔjié, 青岛市国际啤酒节), Qingdao International Beer City (Qīngdǎo Guójì Píjiǔ Chéng, 青岛国际啤酒城) is a large beer garden, designated for the festival's opening and closing ceremonies, various drinking competitions and performances. The big event has been held each August since 1991 and brings in Chinese domestic beer as well as beer from around the world including Becks, Kirin, Corona and, of course, local..

Opened to the public in 1983, Xiao Yu Shan Park offers excellent views of No. 1 Bathing Beach from its hilltop location. Situated on the Xiao Yu Shan Park grounds are Lanchao Ge (Tide Viewing Pavilion), Yongcui Ting (Green Group Embedded Pavilion) and BiboTing (Pavilion for Viewing Blue Ripples), all of which provide stunning, panoramic views of Qingdao.

The somewhat underappreciated Protestant Church (Jīdū Jiàotáng, 基督教堂) is not as large as the towering St. Michael's Cathedral, but it remains a great example of Qingdao's German architecture. The church was designed by German architect Curt Rothkegel, who designed buildings in Beijing, Tianjin and Shenyang as well as the Qingdao Guest House. While the décor inside is rather sparse, the insides of the clock tower are fascinating.

Catch an arctic breeze in Polar Ocean World (Jídì Hǎiyáng Shìjiè, 极地海洋世界), where penguins cavort in the water and white furred bears laze about on the ice. After you’ve seen your share of sea-otter shenanigans, take a stroll about the multitude of aquariums where the manifold shapes and colors of over 10, 000 aquatic species await. Make sure to make some inquiries regarding the Beluga whale show, these gentle creatures put on quite the performance.  If you’re day isn’t complete..

There are few places in the world where you'll find marine shows as tacky as Qingdao Underwater World (Hǎidǐ Shìjiè, 海底世界), and that fact alone is almost worth making the effort to see it. The oldest marine park in Qingdao, the aquarium's got a history that goes back about 70 years. Much more recently, the aquarium has seen major investments and construction and is now host to an impressive array of displays. Among the four underground levels you'll find an inter-tidal zone display, a seabed tunnel, a cabin passage, a marine..

Situated on the southern side of Lao Shan amongst a larger Taoist complex that once housed 9 palaces, 8 temples and seventy-two nunneries, the Taiqing Palace, or Great Purity Palace, is regarded as one of the most sacred Taoist Palaces in history. Originally built in 140 B.C. during the Western Han Dynasty (206 B.C.-24 A.D.), Taiqing actually better resembles a Song Dynasty structure (960-1279 A.D.) due to renovation. Comprised of three courts (Sanguan Hall, Sanqing Hall and Sanhuang Hall) and 155 rooms,..

Located to the east of No. 1 Bathing Beach, the No. 2 Bathing Beach is the favorite Qingdao beach of many who've visited the city with its "soft" sand and relatively sheltered waters. Like the No. 1 Bathing Beach, it's also a favorite spot for Chinese couples taking wedding photographs in Qingdao, particularly on the rocky eastern portion of the beach just south of the Granite Mansion. The Eight Great Passes neighborhood is also located nearby.

Built in 1903, the Granite Mansion (Huāshí Lóu, 花石楼) was originally the hunting and fishing villa of Qingdao's German Governor and combines Roman and Gothic architectural styles, creating a structure unlike any other in China. Located beside No. 2 Bathing Beach just past the Eight Great Passes , the Granite Mansion offers panoramic views of Taiping Bay (Tàipíng Wān, 太平湾), and its grounds, full of lush pines and gardens, provide a relaxing and refreshing atmosphere.

Dating back to the German-concession era, the Qingdao Guest House (Qīngdǎo Yíng Bīnguǎn, 青岛迎宾馆) was the former residence of the local German Governor General. Built in 1903 at a massive cost, the opulent digs cost the governor his post. One of the best remaining architectural examples of European villas in China, the Guest House, originally known as the Qingdao Governor's Mansion, was also a popular venue for the Chinese to host political ambassadors and military leaders. The Chairman himself (Mao, not Sinatra) stayed here while..

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