Shandong Province: Did you know?
The name Shandong (山東, pronounced santou in Japanese) literally means “east of the mountain,” in reference to its location east of the Taihang Mountains.
Confucius, China’s famous philosopher, was born in the city of Qufu, part of modern-day Shandong.
Tsingtao Beer comes from the city of Qingdao in Shandong province. The brewery dates back to the early 1900s when it was founded by German settlers.
Today, with a population of about 92 million, Shandong ranks as the second most populous province in China after Henan.
Shandong cuisine is one of the “eight cuisines” of China (the other seven are: Sichuan, Cantonese, Fujian, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Hunan and Anhui cuisines), and is known for its seafood dishes and soups, featuring many dishes originally served in the royal court.
Qingdao was selected as one of the host cities for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Events to be held in Qingdao include the sailing competitions, to take place along the city’s coast.
Li Qingzhao, China’s most famous female poet, lived in Shandong during the Song Dynasty.
Tai Shan, or Mount Tai, located between the cities of Jinan and Tai’an, is one of the “Five Great Mountains” in Taoist tradition, and is regarded as the most sacred of the five due to its eastern location and the association with sunrise, birth and renewal. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, Tai Shan attracts millions of visitors each year, and has been a destination of pilgrimages for over 3,000 years. The mountain contains dozens of temples and ruins and hundreds of stone tablets, as well as over 1,000 stone inscriptions and a flight of over 7,000 stairs leading up to the eastern peak.
The city of Yantai was supposedly home to the first bowling alley in Asia. No longer in operation, the Yantai Bowling Alley still attracts visitors as an historical attraction.
Not only is Shandong the sister province of Yamaguchi Prefecture, but several cities also share sister-city relationships, such as Jinan and Yamaguchi City, Weihai and Ube, and Qingdao and Shimonoseki (which are connected by ferry route on the Orient Ferry).