Why to Visit Baotu Spring in Jinan?
● Miraculous Natural Phenomena of Underground Springs. First, please note that springs in Jinan are all artesian karst springs unlike hot springs you’ve already seen in other places. They are amazing natural sights completely generated underground. The height difference of the terrain, rainfall and subsurface rock formations are the magic powers of their emergence.
● Graceful Jiangnan Style Scenery. When talking about Shandong, most people think about words like bold, cool, mighty and aggressive. But, with lots of springs, Jinan definitely refreshes your existed stereotype and impression of Shandong. Baotu Spring Park is the best proof that Jinan is a more like a gentle and graceful Jiangnan lady, full of sense of fresh, gracious and romantic traits by unfolding a pretty picture of spring, willows and exquisite buildings.
● Massive Treasures of the Famous Literati. The places of interests nearby the Baotu Spring are too numerous to mentions. Luoyuan Hall, Guanlan Pavilion, the Memorial Halls of Li Qingzhao, Li Kuchan and Wang Xuetao, Cang Garden, Bamboo Garden are the best highlights worthy of your exploration. Gained lots of eulogiums from ancient and modern literati and scholars, such as Emperor Qianlong, Su Shi, Zeng Gong, Guo Moruo and so on, Baotu Spring likewise contain profound cultural deposits, which can be easily found everywhere.
The History of Baotu Spring
Known as one of the three most famous scenic spots of Jinan, Baotu Spring has a long history of over 3,500 years. Oracle bone inscriptions found in Anyang, Henan can prove its old age. In ancient time, people called it Luo (泺), for it is the source of Luo River in Jinan. Chinese famous chronicle - Chunqiu (Spring and Autumn Annals) recorded that Duke Huan of Lu and Duke Xiang of Qi once met in Luo in 694 BC. Beside, Li Daoyuan, a notable ancient Chinese geographer, also described the choppy waters of Luo in his monumental work Shuijingzhu (Commentary on the Water Classic). Later, Baotu Spring was also named Eying Water, because an Eying Temple was built to worship Ehuang and Nvying, two daughters of Emperor Yao and wives of Emperor Shun.
In Song Dynasty, the magistrate Zeng Gong named Baotu Spring as “Jian Spring” (槛泉) which is an elegant allusion from “the Book of Songs”. However, the locals more prefer the name - Baotu Spring that vividly and excellently shows the spewing fountain.
According to legend, after Qianlong Emperor of the Qing Dynasty saw Baotu Spring and tasted the tea brewed by the Baotu Spring water, he conferred it “the First Spring under the Heaven”. A Baotu Spring centered small park was built in 1956 and got several expansions to be today’s beautiful Baotu Spring Park, a must-visit landmark and symbol of Jinan.
Formation Causes of Baotu Spring and Other Springs in Jinan
Liu E, a Chinese writer of the late Qing Dynasty mentioned in his The Travels of Lao Can that, there are flowing streams by every house and weeping willows by every door in Jinan. Indeed, framed as “the City of Springs”, Jinan owns up to 733 natural springs, a truly “Museum of Springs”. The “72 Famous Springs” are the most preventatives, and in downtown Jinan, Baotu Spring, Black Tiger Spring, Five Dragon Pool and Pearl Spring are the four major spring groups.
How the springs are formed in Jinan? Several important members make a great contribution to that. The unique topography is the most vital and fundamental factor, because Jinan has high mountain (Thousand Buddha Mountain) in the south and lower plain in the north, and Jinan City is rightly located on the slant zone. Such unique terrain can easily explain why both surface and underground water assemble in the city area.
Geologic structure is the second important reason. The southern mountain is composed of limestone with many interstices, karst gutters, and holes, caves, creating a hidden underground river to store and deliver the waters. While the northern plain covers fine and hard igneous rocks that waters can’t flow through. Meanwhile, there are faults in the east and west stopping the outflow.
Top Highlights to See in Baotu Spring Park
With an area of 10.5 hectares, Baotu Spring Park is a popular theme park covering many scenic spots and historical sites. You can witness the indefatigable Baotu Spring, enjoy beautiful dropping willows lined along the bridges, pavilions, halls, and visit memorial halls of Li Qingzhao and Li Kuchan, Wang Xuetao, and discover other small 27 springs inside. There are three entrance gates to the park, and tourists usually start tour the park from the South Gate, where hangs a plaque with an inscription of “趵突泉” by the Qianlong Emperor. Another plaque wrote by Guo Moro is hung in the East Gate.
Baotu Spring 趵突泉
Baotu Spring, covering 158 acres, is the core and top highlight to see in the park. The spring lies in the center, next to Guanlan Pavilion (观澜亭), and faces Luoyuan Hall (泺源堂) to the north and Laihe Bridge (来鹤桥) to the east and is surrounded by stele corridors in the south.
Three main water outlets gush simultaneously with an average spring of 70,000 cubic meters every day and the highest daily record is 162,000 cubic meters. Its highest water table even goes to nearly 30 meters. Still, there are some more little springs spitting water bubbles around. More amazingly, the billowing waters always stay an even temperature of 18°C. Therefore, you may see a fairyland-like spring slightly misted in cold winter days. Another wonder is the water of Baotu Spring is surprisingly clear and healthy, which can be drunk directly.
The Memorial Hall of Li Qingzhao 李清照纪念堂
In the north of Suyu Spring (漱玉泉), an ancestral hall was rebuilt to be the Memorial Hall of Li QingZhao, a great Chinese poetess of the Song Dynasty. This location is believed to be her original residence and where Guo Moruo left the most inscriptions in Jinan.
Walking across an ancient architectural entrance, you can firstly see two inscriptions by Guo Moruo, the plaque “李清照纪念堂” in the front and another one on the back screen. Then, you can walk in the Song Dynasty style mansion consisting to two traditional courtyards, Li Qingzhao Memorial Hall and Yi’an’s Former Residence. There you can take some time to learning the biography, outstanding works and how life impacted on her works. In the Shuyu Hall (漱玉堂), you can see more plaques, couplets from Guo Moruo praising her brilliance. And, her portrait, statue and many literatures of her, her husband and father, and other modern writers are exhibited to help people know more about this prominent poetess and her remarkable way of emotional expression.
Bamboo Garden & Li Kuchan Memorial Hall 万竹园&李苦禅纪念馆
Bamboo Garden, also called Zhang Family Garden, was the private garden of Zhang Huaizhi, a Shandong warlord. The garden lies in the west of Baotu Spring Park, covers 12,000 square meters with 13 courtyards and 186 rooms, 5 bridges, 4 pavilions and some springs. Named after the tremendous amount of bamboos, Bamboo Garden is a large-scale ancient architecture compound constructed with mixed features of Prince Palace of Beijing, courtyard of the South China and Siheyuan (Chinese quadrangles) of Jinan.
Inside the garden, there is a memorial hall built for honoring Li Kuchan, a local marvelous Chinese painter and art educator and a pupil of Qi Baishi. More than 400 of his final works and precious collection are displayed in over 160 rooms, which offer good chance to appreciate his bold and distinct traditional Chinese paintings.
If you’re interested in Chinese painting art, you may spend more time visiting the Wang Xutao Memorial Hall (王雪涛纪念馆) in Cang Garden (沧园), where shows more than 200 posthumous works of Wang Xuetao, another splendid painter and student of Qi Baishi.
Guanlan Pavilion, Luoyuan Hall & Other Historical Site
Guanlan Pavilion (观澜亭) stands right behind the Baotu Spring. This quadrate pavilion, built in 1461 (Ming Dynasty) is the closest point for watching the Baotu Spring. Two stone tablets with dark green inscriptions are placed in the crystal clear pond on each side. One is Baotu Spring (趵突泉)written by Hu Zuanzong, a calligrapher of the Ming Dynasty and the other is the First Spring “第一泉” from Wang Zhonglin, a civil official of the Qing Dynasty.
In the north of the spring, there has an ancient building complex, Luoyuan Hall (泺源堂). It once was the ancestral hall of Ehuang and Nvying, but later remolded to be a Taoist temple. The hall is another popular spot to view the spewing spring.
Additionally, the park owns many more historical sites you can leisurely wander around, such as the Guanlan Bridge (观澜桥), a 5-meter-long, 3-meter-wide stone bridge, Guanghui Bridge (广汇桥), Turtle Rock (龟石), a 4-meter-high, 8-ton-weigh Taihu Stone with bizarre shape, Laihe Bridge, Snow White Tower erected for the Ming Dynasty litterateur Li Panlong, etc.
Natural Geological Exhibition Hall of Spring 泉水自然地质展览馆
Situated in the Hundred Flower Garden (百花园), the exhibition hall serves as a small museum introducing the formation, actuality, research and protection. After entering the door, tourists can see detailed distribution of the main spring groups and all over 700 springs in Jinan marked on a huge display screen. Moreover, dynamic electronic sand tables and videos, photos are used to help the audience understand the formation and evolution of the springs in Jinan.
Featured Cultural Festivals & Activities
At different times of a year, the park holds various kinds of traditional cultural events to stage unique landscape and folk culture of Jinan. The major festivals include Golden Autumn Chrysanthemum Festival during late October and late November, Spring Festival Lantern Festival from the first day of the first month in the lunar year, Baotu Spring Water Culture Festival between late September and early October. The grandest and most popular one is the Chrysanthemum Festival which exhibits hundreds varieties of Chrysanthemums. Except those, tourists can also seize seasonal beautiful flowers and natural scenery, attend Chinese painting and calligraphy exhibitions near the Baotu Spring and catch a glimpse of authentic local life during the lively festivals.
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How to Get to Baotu Spring
Located in the central of Baotu Spring Park, Baotu Spring is one of the most important parts of the World’s Best Spring Scenic Area, which lies next to the Spring City Square and closely to Daming Lake and Spring City Square, Black Tiger Spring and Five Dragon Pool. Air and train travelers can take a taxi to the spring after arrival, and it’s also convenient to transfer there from other attractions in Jinan.
Baotu Spring Location: No.1 South Baotu Spring Road, Lixia District, Jinan City, Shandong Province 山东省济南市历下区趵突泉南路1号
● Jinan Yaoqiang International Airport - Baotu Spring Park:about 33 km, 50 minutes ~ 1 hour’s drive; about 1 hour 40 minutes by airport shuttle bus Line 1 (get off at Yuquan Simpson Hotel, and walk 1 km, 15 minutes to Baotu Spring Park)
● Jinan West Railway Station - Baotu Spring: about 13 km, 35 ~ 40 minutes by drive; about 1.5 hours by Jinan City Bus K 109 (get off at the Ximen Station near the South Gate of the park)
● Jinan Railway Station - Baotu Spring: about 3.5 km, 15 ~ 20 minutes by drive; nearly 35 ~ 40 minutes by Jinan City Bus (K51, K3, K85, K1, K49)
● Daming Lake – Baotu Spring: about 1.5 km, 20 minutes by walking
● Qianfo Mountain (Thousand Buddha Mountain) – Baotu Spring: about 3 km, 15 minutes by driving; nearly 30 minutes by Jinan City Bus (K85, K66, B100, K51…)
● Shandong Museum - Baotu Spring: about 8 km, 25 minutes by driving; 1 hour by bus transfers
Nearby Attractions to Travel with Baotu Spring
Tourists usually visit Baotu Spring Park with Daming Lake, Black Tiger Spring and other downtown attractions within short walking distance together.
Daming Lake - Lake of the Great Splendor
Location: No.271 Daminghu Road, Lixia District, Jinan City 济南市历下区大明湖路271号
Ticket: Free Admission
Well-known as one of the three famous scenic spots and landmarks of Jinan, Daming Lake is a huge beautiful lake fed by the artesian karst springs. Its stunning beauty is best depicted in the poetic couplet: Lotuses circuit the Daming Lake on all sides and willows on three sides; mountain and lake scenery take each half in Jinan. Here, you can enjoy picturesque green lake, lovely weeping willows and plenty of cultural spots.
Black Tiger Spring - One of the Top Three Spring Groups in Jinan
Location: South Bank of the Moat, West Black Tiger Spring Road, Lixia District, Jinan City 济南市历下区黑虎泉西路护城河南岸
Ticket: Free Admission
The spring is the second famous spring in Jinan just after the Baotu Spring. The origin is a 2-meter-deep cave underground, but people often pay more attention to the exposed oblong spring pool, a 15-meter-wide and 4-meter-deep pond where waters flow out though three stone carved tiger heads. The spring getting out of the undertrain, the outlets and finally pour to the moat.
Five Dragon Pool - One of the Top Three Spring Groups in Jinan
Location: No.18 Kuangshi Street, Tianqiao District, Jinan City 济南市天桥区筐市街18号
Ticket: Free Admission
This spring is situated in the Five Dragon Pool Park with a total of 26 wild springs. They are a huge spring group with the best water quality. You can see various species of fishes swimming about in the super transparent pool.
Furong Street and Jinan Kuanhouli – Popular Snack Street
Furong Street (芙蓉街) named after Furong Spring, is an old street stretching north to south in the northeast of the Baotu Spring. With a length of 432 meters, this alley was said to be the most prosperous place in Jinan, but now is a busy snack street selling different kinds of local snacks of Jinan.
Walking just 1 km, 15 minutes from Furong Street, you can get to Kuanhouli, a new commercial and pedestrian street combining local food culture and traditional architectures， similar to Kuanzhai Alley in Chengdu. The better environment and more options make it a new favorite for tasting Jinan food.
Thousand Buddha Mountain
Location: No.18 Jingshiyi Road, Lixia District, Jinan City 济南市历下区经十一路18号
Ticket: RMB 6 on Monday ~ Friday, RMB 15 on Satuary & Sunday
Thousand Buddha Mountain (Qianfo Mountai) is the range of Mount Tai which locates 285 meters above sea level. Besides the giant golden sitting Buddha Maitreya, visitors can also view tens of thousands of Buddha statues imitating the Dunhuang Mogao Grottoes, Majishan, Yungang Datong and Luoyang Longmen Grottoes in Wanfo Cave, and more than 130 Buddha sculptures carved in the Qianfo Cliff. From the mountain top, you can get a panoramic view of Jinan city.
Shandong Museum - The Best Access to Learn the Culture & History of Shandong
Location: No.11899 Jingshidong Road, Lixia District, Jinan City 济南市历下区经十东路11899号
Ticket: Free Admission
Shandong Museum is the first provincial comprehensive museum in China after the founding of the China. Being expanded based on an early museum and a religious site, the museum displays over 140,000 cultural relics presenting profound history and culture of Shandong Province.
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Useful Baotu Spring Travel Tips
1. The Best Time to Visit: March to May and September to November are the best times for touring Baotu Spring, because temperature in these periods is pleasant, rainfall happened in July and August during summer can replenish the underground water and offers greater chance to see the spewing spring. Other months has less precipitation, so you may expect lower height and unmotivated spring.
Tips: As the top landmark of Jinan, there are always crowds around the spring, especially during weekends and national holidays. So, it’s advised to get into the park before 08:00 am without too many visitors.
2. Take Boat to Tour Baotu Spring & Jinan: You can enjoy one-way boat trip to Baotu Spring from Daming Lake, Black Tiger Spring, Five Dragon Pool, Spring City Square, or make a long boat tour with them all.
Boat Ticket for your reference:
Black Tiger Spring – Baotu Spring: RMB 20 per person; Spring City Square – Baotu Spring: RMB 10 per person
How to Plan Your Baotu Spring Tour in Jinan
How to Get to Jinan: You can fly to Jinan from Shanghai, Xian, Guangzhou, Datong or take high speed train from Beijing, Shanghai and other Chinese cities.
Best Time to Visit Jinan: May, September and October when temperature is moderate comfortable and weather is probably good.
Top Attractions to Visit in Jinan: Baotu Spring Park, Daming Lake, Thousand Buddha Mountain, Shandong Museum …
Jinan, the capital city in central Shandong, is the famous “City of Spring” in China hiding numerous natural springs and picturesque city landscape. 1 day is suitable for visiting major spots in Jinan. But tourists usually take 4 to 5 days to travel Jinan with the best highlights in Shandong, including the sacred Mount Tai, hometown of Confucius - Qufu and beautiful coastal city - Qingdao.
During your day trip in Jinan, you can conveniently visit several attractions together in the city center, such as the Baotu Spring Park, Daming Lake, Black Tiger Spring and Spring City Square. In Jinan, it’s also a good idea to learn the local culture and history in the Shandong Museum and make a leisurely hike on the Thousand Buddha Mountain. Next, you can take 1 full day to climb the Mount Tai and another day to worship the Confucianism in the “San Kong” of Qufu. While in Qingdao, you may spare leave 2 days to immerse in the mind-blowing seaside scenery and experience the energetic Tsingtao Beer.
If times allows and you’re quite interested in Shandong culture and beauty, it’s strongly advised to explore more wonderful places, like the Capital of Kite - Weifang, fairyland Penglai of Yantai, pretty Weihai, etc. Beyond Shandong, travelers often extend trip further to Beijing, Xian, Datong & Pingyao (in Shanxi)， Luoyang & Shaolin Temple & Kaifeng (in Henan) and more stunning heritages and nature sights in China.
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