Believe it or not, there is more to China, then Beijing. Here is a look at our day at Baotu Spring Park in Jinan.
Baotu Spring Park
Baotu Spring Park, 趵突泉 (jet or spouting spring), is one of the 3 major attractions in Jinan. The other two are Daming Lake and 1,000 Buddha Mountain. You really should see all three. We did and the videos will be up soon.
More Than Just a Spring
Baotu Spring is the most famous of the 72 named springs and more than 100 other springs in Jinan. The spring has been a subject of classic Chinese literature for more than 3,500 years starting in the Shang dynasty (16th –11th BC).
Baotu Spring is mentioned in the Spring and Autumn Annals. This is one of the Five Classics of Chinese literature written between 722 to 481 BC. Baotu Spring is written about in many other well-known Chinese classics. Chinese emperors have visited the spring and left their inscriptions over the centuries. Baotu Spring was the residence of the governor of Shandong during the Ming dynasty.
Historical structures from the Song (960-1127) and Ming (1368 to 1644) dynasties surround the spring pool. These are ancient pavilions and halls adorned with colorful paintings and carvings. They house art exhibitions year round and the annual lantern festival and chrysanthemum show each year.
The water is pure and drinkable. Baotu Quan, a local beer brewed in Jinan, uses the water from the springs. Tea tasting with water from the spring is a favorite past time. Locals will tell you, that you will spoil your trip to Jinan if you do not drink the tea brewed with Baotu Springwater.
You can spend hours at Baotu Springs and if Chinese art, including calligraphy, is of interest plan on making it a full day trip. The many buildings house a variety of classic and modern Chinese artists. At certain times of the year, this includes flowers and lanterns.
There are several eateries for lunch and be sure to have overpriced green tea brewed with spring water at the Wangheting Teahouse adjacent to the springs. Additionally, there are quite a few shops selling a range of items from cheap plastic children’s toys to high-quality art.
Bautu Springs houses, in my opinion, an out of place war museum with graphic displays. It is in such contrast to the peace of the park that I suggest you avoid it.
This is a relaxing, calm oasis in the city, so relax your mind and body for strolling among the springs, waterway, courtyards, and trees. You will also find many quiet and secluded areas to sit and reflect.
No power walking here. You will find the locals playing cards, Chinese chess, mahjong, and painting. Bautu Springs can get quite crowded at times, but there are always places to escape the multitudes.
If there are crowds, walk past the springs to the far end of the park. There you will find a less visited set of courtyards housing art displays, small orchards, and ponds. When you exit, rather than walk out, take the boat to Daming Lake from within the park.
The springs in Jinan are artesian karst springs. Rain from the limestone mountains in the south percolates through the limestone rather than running off in rivers. The water flows downhill underground and emerges under pressure from the cracks in the limestone.
The water jets from the spring can be as highs as 26 meters (85 ft) and the temperature remains at 18 degree Celsius (64 F) year round. From the springs, the water flows into Daming Lake via the old city moat then to the Xiaoqing River.