Located at the southern tip of the Shandong Peninsular, Qingdao has a surprisingly short history. Nothing more than a fishing village at the end of the 19th century, the Qing Government decided to make the area a primary defence base against naval attacks, and planned the construction of a city. Little was done, however, until 1897 when the city was ceded to Germany. The Germans soon turned Qingdao into a strategically important port. The German Imperial government planned and built the first streets and institutions of the city that can still be seen today. The early German pioneers were a thirsty lot too. Qingdao is perhaps most famously known for the Tsingtao Brewery, which the German settlers founded in 1903.
The city reverted to Chinese rule in 1922. Today, Qingdao is a prosperous town and now boasts a skyline similar to the modern architecture of Pudong in Shanghai but with a charm derived from its Germanic roots.
Downtown Shinan District is where most of the Qingdao’s points of interest are including the imposing rail station, Zhanqiao Pier, Zhongshan Lu – the city’s premier shopping street, St Michael’s Church and the charming Protestant Church, and in Xinhao Shan Park, the former Governor’s Residence. Now the Ying Hotel, this grand Germanic mansion once played host to Mao Zedong.
The Qingdao Museum is also worthy of exploration with exhibits of art and antiquities of ancient to modern Qingdao. Being on the coast, Qingdao also boasts some pleasing waterfront areas with clean stretches of sand.
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