Jinan, or Ji'nan (Jǐ'nán, 济南), the capital of northeast China's Shandong province, is also known as the "City of Springs" thanks to 72-odd natural artesian springs bubbling up through the same limestone that forms nearby Tai Shan, a sacred Taoist mountain and major regional attraction. The city's name came from its location south of the Ji River, which was replaced by the Yellow River when it shifted course into the riverbed of the Ji River.
Jinan boasts a rich history and distinct culture, making it popular with domestic tourists, and it also serves as a major transportation hub worth a day or two stopover for travelers passing through.
The city's greatest claim to fame is its distinction as the home of Shandong cuisine (Lǔ Cài, 鲁菜; or Shāndōng Cài, 山东菜), one of the eight great culinary traditions of China. More recent history also bequested to Jinan a unique architectural heritage; a period of German colonial rule led to the constructions of a number of European buildings—though fewer than neighboring Qingdao—making it less of a draw to international tourists, but it still offers appeals to travelers for to its historical significance.
Jinan is also renowned as a center of culture and religion. Buddhism has long thrived in and around Jinan, as evidenced by regional ancient temples like Lingyan Temple (Língyán Sì, 灵岩寺) and Four Gates Pagoda as well as the nearby sacred mountain of Tai Shan. Additionally, some of China's most celebrated poets and artists hale from Jinan, including Xin Qiji, Zhao Mengfu, Li Qingzhao and, more recently, actress Gong Li.
The bubbling, clear waters of Baotu Springs Park were famous enough that well-traveled Emperor Kangxi of the Qing Dynasty made a stop for a drink and declared it the "number one..
Dating back to the Tang Dynasty, the grottoes and carvings on the foliage-draped Thousand Buddha Cliff (Qiānfó Yá, 千佛崖) outside Ji'nan sit not far from what was..