Shandong has been long inhabited, and archeologists have unearthed evidence of the Longshan Culture 4,500 years ago. Shandong stands as if an island on the East China Plain, indeed in geological times it was an island before the Yellow and Yangzi river joined it to the mainland by depositing rich alluvial soil to form the land to its west. As recently as 1855 the Yellow River’s lower course entered the sea to the south of Shandong. So Shandong is set apart from its neighbors even though the Grand Canal passes close to the west. Mountains make up the central spine of the province and so most people live close to the rugged coastline. The family home of Confucius (Kongfuzi) is located at Qufu and the sacred mountains of Tai Shan are revered by Daoists.
Average temperature: -5ºC to -1ºC (23ºF to 30.2ºF) in January, 24ºC to 28ºC (75.2ºF to 82.4ºF) in July.
Places to visit
1. Taishan Mountain is revered not only by Daoists but also Buddhist and Confucians with many shrines dotted over it. As Mount Tai is considered the most sacred of Chinese mountains many visitors scale its heights. Taishan reaches an impressive 5,029 feet [1,533 meters] and the route to the top has many sculptures, inscriptions, temples and waterfalls. The Taishan Temple at the base of the mountain dates back to Han dynasty times and greatly expanded in the Tang and Song dynasty when many splendid halls were built. Well trodden routes lead to the many interesting temples on the summit.
2. Baotu Spring is an artesian karst spring located in Jinan It was declared the “Number One Spring Under the Heaven” by Emperor Qianlong in Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1911). It is the symbol of Jinan. The spring pool of the Baotu Spring is fed by underground limestone water through three outlets, and the volume of the water coming out of the spring can reach 240,000 cubic meters per day. Sometimes the water jets from the spring are said to reach as high as 26.49 meters (86.9 feet), making the site a real spectacle.
3. Qufu has a set of temples to mark the birthplace of Confucius. These are large and lavish, indeed comparable to the Forbidden City in Beijing, underlining how important Confucianism has been throughout China’s long history. The temple at Qufu has 53 ornamental gateways and many halls. The Confucian Woods holds monuments to members of the family down the centuries. Inscribed stone slabs (steles) are there in their thousands documenting ancient life in China.
4. Qingdao means blue-green island and it remained a small fishing village for many centuries. Cool ocean currents keep the climate cool and it attracts tourists who wish to escape the summer heat on the beach.
5. Mount Lao 3,716 feet [1,133 meters] is near Qingdao, and although less visited than Taishan, is equally impressive. The largest temple is Taiqinggong from the Song dynasty with over a hundred buildings in the complex. The ancient tradition of kite flying in China continues at Weifang where there is a kite museum and an international kite festival each year.
6. The Penglai Pavilion is situated on top of Danya Mountain. Built in 1061 during the North Song Dynasty (960-1127), the Penglai Pavilion is one of the four famous ancient towers in China.The scenic area of Penglai Pavilion is a complex of ancient buildings, palaces and temples. It has been regarded as a ‘Fairyland’ since ancient times.