Introduction to World’s Best Spring Scenic Area
The World’s Best Spring Scenic Area is located in the center of Jinan, the capital of Shandong province and enjoys superior geographic location and convenient transport. It's composed of one river (the city moat), one lake (Daming Lake), three springs (three spring groups: Baotu Spring, Black Tiger Spring and Five-Dragon Pond), and four parks (Baotu Spring Park, Huancheng Park, Five-Dragon Pond Park, and Daming Lake Scenic Area), being a best tourism attraction endowed with both unique landscape of natural water springs and profound historical and cultural heritage. Covering a total area of 3.1 square kilometers, it's a 5A national scenic area, important national park, an advanced unit of China's construction of spiritual civilization, and a provincial scenic spot.
It was included into the second group of China's National Natural and Cultural Heritage Reserve List by the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development on September 10, 2009 and became the first spring-themed project applying for world heritage in China due to the advantage of having a large quantity, good water quality, beautiful shape, particular geologic structure, profound historical culture, common ornamental value, uniqueness, rareness and endangeredness. In November 2011, the city moat spring landscape belt was selected into the "China's Top Ten Resort" by the magazine Qiushi ; and in December 2011, it won the " Award for Chinese Exemplar of Living Environment" from the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development.
The scenic area has a long history. Baotu Spring is known as "Luo" in the ancient time. It's recorded in the "Spring and Autumn Annals” that in the eighteenth year of Duke Huan of Lu (B.C. 694), the Duke met Marquis of Yi in Luo. In the Song Dynasty, Zeng Gong named it "Baotu Spring" in view of its feature of jumping and rushing out; the city moat was first built in the Han Dynasty, formed in the Yuan Dynasty, and completed in the Ming Dynasty. As recorded in "Licheng County Annals", in the fourth year of Hongwu period of Ming Dynasty, the city moat went around the city, with a width of around 16.67m and a depth of 1m". So it's a city river that connects springs and lakes and goes along with the history and civilization. Daming Lake, called Lishui Pool, Lianzi Lake and West Lake in the ancient time. It's recorded in the "Commentary on the Waterways Classic" that, the northern stream of Luo River is Daming Lake and Yuan Haowen, a poet in Jin Dynasty always called it Daming Lake in its "Travels in Jinan".
The scenic area, built around the Baotu Spring, is known as the best spring in the world. The spring flows into a river, and then converges into a lake, and depends on each other with the famous ancient city. With the combination of spring, river, lake and city, it collectively shows the unique spring landscape. In the city of springs, there are 71 famous spring gathering together in the most famous spring groups of Baotu Spring, Black Tiger Spring, and Five-Dragon Pond, making it enjoying the world records in terms of quantity, beautiful shape, water quality, historical culture and value of scientific research; Daming Lake is a natural lake formed by the convergence of a large number of springs; the spring water flows in from the south bank of the lake and when the lake is filled, the water will flow out from the north water gate built in the Song Dynasty; the lakebed is formed by waterproof igneous rocks and the lake will not flood in frequent rainfalls nor dry in long drought, so it's known as "the springs converge and cover Luo of Jinan" and honored as "pearl of the city of springs". The poem "Lotus covers four sides and willows line up the three sides of the lake; the mountain city is half covered by a lake " is the best description of it. The city moat, formed by the convergence of springs, is just like a jade belt going around the ancient city and also like a pearl necklace that connects all the scenic spots. With a 6.9km-long waterway, we can say "a river connects a hundred scenic spots". Traveling along the city moat in a painted pleasure boat, you can see more than 310 scenic landscapes such as Black Tiger Roars to the Moon, Baotu Rise High into the Air, Luo Garden with Yi Style, Watching the Fish in the Dragon Pool, Flying Waterfall in the Shape of Crescent Moon, Misty Rain in Que Mountain and Hua Mountain, Setting Sun over the Waves, Autumn Willows, Tranquility and Transcendence, Ripples around Zeng Causeway. Together, they form a well-preserved unique spring sightseeing landscape belt featured by peculiar resources, beautiful landscape, and profound culture, allowing the tourists to enjoy the experience of "feeling joyfulness of mountains and rivers without going out of the city and appreciating the elegance of forest and springs in the bustling downtown" and becoming an integral part of the characteristic symbol of the city of springs.
The scenic area boasts beautiful natural landscape and profound cultural heritage. In addition to spring, river and lakes, there are more than two hundred cultural landscapes and architectural oddments.; more than twenty important architectures for humanity, including Chaoran Tower which was built in the Yuan Dynasty and known as No.1 Building in Jiangbei, Luoyuan Hall which was first built in the Northern Wei Dynasty and reconstructed in the Ming Dynasty, Yeying Ancestral Hall, Hall of Three Sages (collectively known as the Three Great Hall), as well as Wanzhu Garden, Lixia Pavilion, Baixue Tower, Cang Garden, Shangzhi Memorial, Qiuliu Garden, Xia Garden, Zhenhu Building and Guanlan Pavilion, Quehua Bridge, Laihe Bridge, Wanghe Pavilion, Hexagonal Brook Pavilion, Fengxi Fan-shaped Pavilion, Deyue Pavilion, Yuexia Pavilion, Tianxin Water-surface Pavilion, Xiaocanglang Pavilion; over ten historical relics such as Luoshang Pavilion, Qin Qiong's Former Residence Relics, North Water Gate, Huibo Tower, Mingchang Bell Pavilion, Ancient Lixia Pavilion Site, Tanxikeye Monument, etc; five former residence of celebrities. Nanfeng Shrine in the memory of Zeng Gong who was a famous writer in the Northern Song Dynasty and one of the Eight Great Writers of Tang and Song Dynasties, Jiaxuan Memorial in memory of Xin Qiji, a patriotic hero and lyric poet of the Powerful and Free School in the Southern Song Dynasty, Li Qingzhao Memorial and Former Residence of Yi’an to commemorate Li Qingzhao, a well-known female lyric poet of the Graceful and Restrained School in the Song Dynasty, Tie Xuan Memorial to commemorate Tie Xuan, the Minister of War in the Ming Dynasty, and "Lao She and Jinan" Exhibition Hall to commemorate the modern literary giant Lao She; six historical monuments such as May 3rd Pavilion, May 3rd Monument, Former Site of Kuomintang Temporary Headquarter of the Battle of Jinan, Memorial Hall of Jinan Massacre, Former Site of the Shandong Provincial Government Offices, Former Site of Kuomintang Temporary Headquarter of the Battle of Jinan, Jinan Liberation Pavilion, Former Site of Jinan North Wall, etc.; five famous rocks in Taihu Lake such as Turtle Stone (relics of Zhang Yanghao, a Qu poet in the Yuan Dynasty; it's collectively known as the four magic stones together with dragon stone, phoenix stone and unicorn stone, being the No.1 stone in Jinan), Moon-shaped Stone, Qiu (a kind of dragon) Stone, Longevity Stone, and Kui (a one-legged monster) Stone. Among them, Luoyuan Hall, Lixia Pavilion, Tie Xuan Memorial are municipal-level heritage conservation units; Daming Lake and Wanzhu Garden are provincial-level heritage conservation units, Former Site of the Shandong Provincial Government Offices, May 3rd Memorial Park, and Jinan Liberation Pavilion are both revolutionary historical sites and sites for patriotic education in Shandong Province.
The scenic area has profound cultural heritage and abundant human activities. More than ten large traditional cultural activities are held throughout the year, which shows the unique folk cultural characteristics of the city of springs--Jinan.
Introduction to Baotu Spring Scenic Area
Baotu Spring Park is located in downtown Jinan, neighboring Thousand-Buddha Hill to the south, adjacent to Daming Lake to the north, connecting Quancheng Square to the east. Inside the park, there is the "Best Spring in the World" and hence the name. Baotu Spring was renovated to be a park in 1956 and after several expansions, its area has grown from 3.4 hectares to 10.5 hectares. It's now a famous cultural park characterized by spring and cultural landscapes. At present, it's a 4A national scenic area (spot), an advanced unit of China's construction of spiritual civilization, a national "March 8th" red-banner holding collective, a national key park, and a tourist resort well-known at home and abroad.
In the park, there are as many as 28 famous springs such as Baotu Spring, Jinxian Spring, Shuyu Spring, Mapao Spring, Woniu Spring, Huanghua Spring, Liuxu Spring, etc. Baotu Spring is endowed with peculiar landscapes just as the saying goes, “three springs stand side by side, the water surge upward; and the waves are just like the cartwheels". In the winter, the water transpires causing a misty scene that is too wonderful for words. The banks of the pool is built with stones and the water gazebos around reflect with the pool; the small bridges echo the waves, pavilions stand in the water with winding galleries; the hill stones are tall and straight and the green willows swings gently. The tourists can lean on the railing to overlook and enjoy the fun of water. By the side of the spring, there are many inscriptions of celebrities, giving a strong cultural atmosphere for the famous spring.
In the park, there are also a number of famous historic and cultural sites, showing profound cultural deposit. Among them, the historical an cultural sites and landscapes like Luoyuan Hall, Ying'e Hall, Wanghe Pavilion, Ganlan Pavilion, Shangzhi Hall, Li Qingzhao Memorial and Former Residence of Yi'an, Cang Garden, Baixue Tower, Wanzhu Garden, Li Kuchan Memorial, Wang Xuetao Memorial are either magnificent or plain and elegant. The newly built attractions, including Luoyuan Garden, Baihua Garden, the May 3rd Memorial Garden and the boat stop, integrate harmoniously with the existing scenic spots. The long-standing and well-established famous spring culture and the traditionally characterized activities, such as the Lantern Festival parade, autumn chrysanthemum exhibition and Spring Festival lanterns and opera performance, Watching Cranes and Tasting Tea, and Sihai Lantern Riddles, have enriched the traditional culture connotation of Baotu Spring.
Introduction to Daming Lake Scenic Area
The Daming Lake Scenic Area is a natural lake in the downtown, honored as "pearl of the city of springs". It was built into a park in 1958, and through dredging and clearing of in Daming Lake 1972 and 1996, the scenic area has been expanded to 86 hectares, including water area of 46 hectares with average depth of 2m and the deepest point of 4m. Daming Lake has plenty of water, sourcing from such springs as Pearl Spring, Baotu Spring, and the Five-Dragon Pond. So there is a saying goes, "the springs converge and cover Luo of Jinan". The lakebed is formed by waterproof igneous rocks and is convenient for drainage, so it's characterized by "never flood in frequent rainfalls nor dry in long drought". Daming Lake boasts beautiful natural landscapes of lakes and mountains and clear water. Around the lake, there are more than eight hundred willows whose branches touch the green waves; and in the lake, there is a lotus pond of over 40mu, showing stacks of green leaves and white and red lotuses that complement with each other, contend in bizarrerie and beauty while giving out lotus fragrance to refresh the mind of people. The poem "Lotus covers four sides and willows line up the three sides of the lake; the mountain city is half covered a lake" is the best description of its landscape. The old eight scenes including Misty Rain over Quehua Bridge, Setting Sun over the Waves, Autumn Moon over Daming Lake, Lixia Autumn Wind and the famous landscape of inverted reflection of the Thousand Buddha Hill can be viewed in the scenic area. Daming Lake boasts as many as more than 30 attractions such as Lixia Pavilion, Beiji Palace, Huibo Tower, Nanfeng Shrine, Jiaxuan Memorial for Xin Qiji, Xia Garden, Tiexuan Shrine, and Minghu House, which are dotted in between the shades, causing the visitors too busy to attend to all.
The reconstruction project commenced in 2005 and ended in September 2009. After expansion, the scenic area has expended from 74 hectares to 103.4 hectares, increasing by 29.4 hectares (including lake area of 9.4 hectares and land area of 20 hectares). Eight attractions are newly built, including Wind and Moon over the Seven Bridges, Autumn Willows, Mingchang Bell Pavilion, the Rhyme of Jiaxuan, Breeze at Bamboo, Tranquility and Transcendence, Ripples around Zeng Causeway, and Bird Singing in the Woods. Upon completion, Daming Lake will change from "a lake in a garden" into "a lake in a city".
Introduction to the Five-Dragon Pond Scenic Area
The Five-Dragon Pond Park is located outside the West Gate of Jinan old city, in the north of Luoyuan Bridge, adjacent to Baotu Spring in the south, neighboring Daming Lake in the north. It is a simple, plain and leisure waterscape garden consisted of landscapes of pond, pool, brook and port and was named after the famous Five-Dragon Pond. According to the legend, Qin Qiong, the founding father of Tang Dynasty, built a residence here and hence it's known as Qin Qiong's Residence.
Inside the park, there are a large number of famous springs, forming 26 spring pools, which are known as the spring group of Five-Dragon Pond (which is one of the four major spring groups in Jinan) Those springs included in to the List of 72 Famous Springs are Five-Dragon Pond (also known as Grey Bay Spring), Jiangjia Pond (also known as Heaven Mirror Spring), Qiu Brook, Jade Spring, Crescent Spring, Lian Spring, Mizhi Spring, Xianqing Spring, Guanjia Pond, Ancient Hot Spring, Huima Spring, etc. The Five-Dragon Pond has become a famous spring in the Jin Dynasty and the Ancient Hot Spring, Xianqing Spring and West Mizhi Spring were included into the list of famous spring in the Jin, Ming and Qing dynasties.
As recorded in the "Commentary on the Waterways Classic", the Five-Dragon Pond had a vast water area in the Northern Wei Dynasty and was a corner of Daming Lake and known as "purifying pond"; it's called "Siwang Lake" in the Song Dynasty and the water area shrunk in the Yuan Dynasty. In the past dynasties, there were always some buildings constructed around the pond, for example, "Linyu Pavilion" (built at the end of the Ming Dynasty), "Woyi Garden" (built in the early Qing Dynasty), "Tanxi Jingshe" (built in the Qianlong period), but the ancient buildings have no longer existed.
In 1987, the government decided to reconstruct the Five-Dragon Pond as a park and through multiple renovations, some attractions have been created, such as Former Site of Ancient Lixia Pavilion (where Du Fu (Tang Dynasty) entertained Li Yong), Celebrities Hall (former site of Tanxi Jingshe built by Gui Fu, a scholar in the Qing Dynasty), Wu Zhongqi's Calligraphy Exhibition Hall and Stele Gallery, Former Site of the Shandong CPC Leaders' Offices (Wang Jinmei and Deng Enming, the representatives of the first national congress of CPC had worked here), Clear Spring Flowing over the Stones, etc. In 2009, the government further expanded the park from 5.44 hectares to 7.67 hectares, including water area of 0.81 hectares, reconstructed Xianqing Pavilion and built Qing Qiong Shrine.
In the park, there are beautiful sceneries. The willow branches touch the waves, the birds sing joyfully, the weeds float, and the fish plays with each other. It's known as "the peach flowers fall in the banks, as if it is a wonderland" and its landscapes are fine and elegant with unique features.
Introduction to Huancheng Scenic Area
Huancheng Park is built along the city moat of the old city of Jinan. The city moat is first built in the Han Dynasty and through expansion and dredging, it enjoyed a large width in the Hongwu period of the Ming Dynasty, and has now become the only city moat formed by the convergence of natural springs. From 1949 to 1960s, the municipal government demolished the old city wall and renovate some parts of the city moat; since 1984, it planned to use the natural ups and downs features of the banks of the city moat and built it into a riverside park--Huancheng Park that is open to the public throughout the day by two and a half years.
Huancheng Park is featured by green land, water system and landscape tourism lines and connects the attractions of Daming Lake Scenic Area, Five-Dragon Pond Spring Group, Baotu Spring Group, Quancheng Square, Black Tiger Spring Group, Jinan Liberation Pavilion, Spring Bathing Site and others to form a unique city-ring landscape belt in the downtown of Jinan and hence it's honored as a crystal necklace of the city of springs. The Black Tiger Spring whose sound is like a roaring tiger is surrounded by many other famous springs like Pipa Spring, White Stone Spring, Agate Spring, Nine-girl Spring, etc. Jinan Liberation Pavilion, a representative landscape of Jinan is located at the side of the spring, forming a scene of a pavilion standing against the wind. In 2010, the only spring bathing site supplying natural spring water was open to the public for free in China. In the east of the city moat, the four season parks (Spring Park, Summer Park, Autumn Park and Winter Park) have the plant landscape, pavilions and halls setting off each other, and they shine more brilliantly with the hygrophilous wetland landscape which is close to the natural ecology. In the west, the city moat connects Baotu Spring (known as the best spring in the world) and the Five-Dragon Pond (whose landscapes varied step by step) together.
The water course from the city moat to Daming Lake has been completely open for navigation and by taking such measures as river dredging, environment improving, landscape construction, greening and planting, and construction of navigation locks in three stages from 2007 to 2010. And it has also formed a 6.9km symbolic and characteristic waterscape sightseeing belt in the city of springs. The two passenger ship locks built along it adopts the traditional architectural style of upturned eaves and automatic control, and is known as a "Small Three Gorges" in Jiangbei, becoming two beautiful attractions along the city moat. If you are not satisfied with walking tour, you can just take a painted pleasure boat to wander on the green waves, taste the tea, appreciate the spring landscape, go through the ship lock and get a view of all the scenes along the river. We can say "a river connects a hundred scenic spots", forming a unique spring sightseeing landscape belt in China.