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Jinan century-old commercial area to flourish through urban renovation

A bird's-eye view of the old commercial area in Shizhong district, Jinan [Photo/Dazhong News]

The Ronghui old commercial area, which is located at No 333 Jingsi Road in Shizhong district, integrates traditional architecture with modern living, and reflects Jinan's modern history of being a non-treaty port.

Boasting a civilization more than 9,000 years old and architecture more than 2,600 years old, Jinan initiated the opening of the old commercial area as a non-treaty port in 1904 when the Qingdao-Jinan railway opened to traffic, which made Jinan the first batch of inland cities in China to open to the outside world, and marked the beginning of the transformation from a traditional closed city to an open and modernized one.

Many countries set up consulates and consular agencies in Jinan and a large number of foreign capitals flew into Jinan. Banks, foreign firms, hospitals, schools, and malls started to pop up throughout the old commercial area, such as the first professional cinema – Xiaoguanghan, the first city park - Zhongshan Park, and the first foreign firm Carlowitz & Co – the most famous German funding company at that time.

Jinan is a transportation hub and commodity hub in the northern area and the old commercial area has integrated culture from both China and the West, and has witnessed the city's opening-up and prosperity in the past century.

No matter how prosperous it is, it still stands the test of time. Jinan is now facing the proposition of how rejuvenate the once prosperous old commercial area.

According to a renovation project introduced at a project promotion conference for the government, banks, and enterprises in relation to the city's renewal, which was held on Feb 2, cultural relic protection sites and historical buildings will be preserved and updated, and new business forms such as characteristic hotels, and cultural and creative exhibitions will be introduced to jointly highlight the features in the old commercial area.

More renovation projects have been planned, such as the expansion project of Zhongshan Park, an important public recreation place in the old commercial area.

The old commercial area boasts a mixture of culture, history, and modernization.

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