The City of Dezhou is located at the northwest corner of Shandong Province. It takes 1 hour and 15 minutes by bullet train from Beijing.

The name “Dezhou” is derived from water. From 2000 BC to 221 BC, China’s Yellow River ran through Dezhou. In order to tame the river from overflowing, a county was established during the Han Dynasty around 202 BC. It was called Ande (“An” means peace, “de” means virtue) County. The hope was to tame water with virtue. 

The Grand Canal of China. Water certainly breeds agriculture as well as civilization. Water grants Dezhou the opportunity to serve as a hub connecting neighboring southern regions to Beijing via the Grand Beijing-Hangzhou Canal. Those regions include Yan (now Hebei Province), Qi, (now east Shandong), Zhao, (now East Shaanxi and Southern Hebei Province) and Lu, (now southern Shandong) states. From Yuan to Qing Dynasties (1271-1911), the Grand Canal of China transported merchandise from southern China to Beijing via Dezhou. Today, Dezhou reaches 20 major metropolitan in China just within a day’s drive.

Yellow River Forest Park is built to commemorate the course shift of the historical Yellow River. The Yellow River is China’s Mother River. It was in 11 AD that the yellow river changed its course, leaving the river beach barren for few years. Dezhou natives started planting trees to stabilize sands before long. 2,000 years later, the barren river beach turned into the largest and oldest manmade garden in China with 20,000 trees growing jujube, apricot, pears, and plums. Many trees date back 2,000 years ago and many are still alive. For nature lovers, explore this vast 500,000 acre jujube forest is enchanting.

Hai Dao Jin Shan Temple (Island and Golden Mountain). The largest Buddhist Temple in Northern China. The temple houses about 1000 monks. The temple was built in the Sui Dynasty (581-619 AD). It is also the largest gathering place for Pureland sect of Buddhism, which could take up your entire day’s schedule.

Dong Zi Garden occupies 130 acres of land and is surrounded by a huge lake. Here you will find the largest water archway. Dong Zhong Shu, also known as Dong Zi (179-104 BC), (“Zi” is a respectful title for philosophers in China), is the most respected worshipper of Confucius Doctrine. He spent 13 years in Dezhou to study Confucius’ theory. In a nutshell, his thinking is that people communicate with heaven via emperors and it is Heaven’s will that legitimizes Emperor’s rule; it is the social hierarchy that stabilizes a society. Only Confucius doctrine embodies social and political justice. For many years, his belief was adopted as the official ideology by Emperors. As a result, all other schools of philosophy besides that of Confucius were suppressed. Scholars were punished and sentenced to labor, and their books were burned to flames. Dong’s belief impacted history and still affects the daily lives of Chinese people till today.   

The exhibit in the park summarizes history of Chinese philosophy. It is interesting to note that Dongzi had concentrated on his study to such an extent of three years that he is said never to have had a chance to peek into his beautiful backyard garden. Come check out his garden yourself to see its awe-aspiring worth.

Imperial Gardens of Sulu King is China’s only tomb of a foreign king, Sultan Paduka Pahala of Sulu. In 1417, the East King of Sulu, (now Philippines) Paduka Pahala, sailed to China with his family of 300 followers to meet with Emperor Zhu Di of China. Unfortunately, he contracted a fatal disease and died on his way home in Dezhou. Emperor Zhu Di commissioned that a temple be built in memory of him. Some of the descendants of the 300 people who follow Sultan Paduka are still living in Dezhou or its surrounding areas. If you do not think the Philippines is that far, think twice back 800 years ago. Emperor Zhu Di must be very gratified on receiving guests from this far.   

Dezhou Braided Chicken. Dezhou’s Braided Chicken deserves national fame as #1. It is a household name. You can find the Dezhou Braided Chicken all over China, including airports and the Beijing Central Railway Station (Beijing South Station). Roasted with secret sauces, the DZ Chicken is crispy with thin yellowish skins and juicy with very tender meat. The best roast is from the factory store. It is guaranteed 7-day freshness without refrigerating. For curiosity, visit Dezhou Braided Chicken Museum. Practice your Chinese pronunciation “Dezhou Pa Ji ´with your Chinese friends to see if their mouths are watered. 

Solar Crazy Man. Dezhou leads China in solar renewable energy development. Drive into Dezhou you cannot but notice a huge hotel and conference center that are powered by solar panels. The legendary godfather, known as the “Solar Crazy Man”, is Huang Ming, Chairman of Himin Solar Co. Be sure to tour his Solar Valley Industrial Park with hotels, museums, test labs, and his solar village. Take a closer look of his solar over that you can roast chickens with solar light. Mr. Huang pursues his goals in multiple fronts:  city, villages, townships, apartment and campers. His travel agency offer eco themed tour packages. His solar roasters are distributed all over the world. His staff of 6000 people operate the largest enterprise in Shandong on renewal energies.

Watch this video – Meet Huang Ming, its creator of China’s Solar Valley.    

Dezhou is a city of grand scale in everything. The largest jujube forest, largest solar city, largest temple area, and largest city lake. Walking into the city and the region, you can smell the spirit of Dezhou as generous, diligent, smart and with high expectation. If we say Weifang is traditional, Qufu philosophical, Qingdao cosmopolitan, and Jinan political; then Dezhou embodies them all.