Shandong Weifang, the Kite Capital of the World
Weifang geographically lies in the center of Shandong. It is the 2nd largest metropolitan city in Shandong. It possesses 10% of Shandong’s total territory and 10% of Shandong’s population. Weifang’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ranks 4th in Shandong and 32nd in China. Weifang faces the Bohai Sea to the north. At the southern tip, it borders with Qingdao and Rizhao. It is about an hour drive to Wang Ping Kou port, Rizhao City’s beach front. Weifang also sits half-way between Qingdao City and Jinan, the capital of Shandong.
Weifang is also well-known for its historical background. As early as 7000 years ago during the Neolithic Age, there were clan tribes living in this territory. In the Xia Dynasty, the Shang Dynasty was built with the seal of the country, the Spring and Autumn Period, the Warring States Period, and it belonged to the Qi, Lu and other States. Today, Weifang is rewarded for being the best living city in China. This has proven Weifang’s wonderful environment and great humanity.
Also known to many, Weifang is the capital of kites in the world. And it fully utilizes local traditional resources to create a traveling itinerary called “thousands of miles in folk tourism”. The most famous attraction that you won’t want to miss is the Yangjiabu Folk Culture Village in which woodblock paintings and kites Weifang people are proud of are commonly hand made. During the Ming and Qing era (1368-1902), Weifang owed its fame to 200 furnaces, 3,000 blacksmiths, 9,000 sewing machines, and 100,000 looms. This would explain that while downtown Weifang’s high-rise building dominated the city’s landscape, Weifang as a region (in Shandong, all regions are named after its regional capital city) is still largely rural. Traditional artisan craftsmanship and lifestyle is purposely reserved.
As of today, Weifang’s Shou Guang County continues to be China’s top vegetable producer. Interestingly, China’s national highway also reserves a “vegetable express lane” at the Shou Guang exit for vegetable truckloads to be transported daily across China. Weifang’s juicy radish earns its national fame. Travelers in search of amazing sights, Taihe Mountain is your place to take a peek.
Outside of Weifang City, a large county that is at a 1 million population mark has become a true gem. Qingzhou, a county-level city that is rarely visited by international tourists, is often missed by the many highlights it has to offer. The traditional streets are charming, and the atmosphere to take a stroll at dusk, in moody light, after rain won’t be your ordinary stroll in the park. Flickers of color and music twinkle out from small shops, drawing in the senses to unfamiliar goods, drinks, or interesting snacks.
An attractive European-style architecture is also found in this village too, dotted around Qingzhou county. One example is Christ Church, built by British missionaries in 1879.
Although it is marching towards modernity along with the rest of China, the city of Weifang and its people are particularly proud of maintaining their cultural heritage, making it a great place to gain a deeper understanding of the culture of Shandong. Weifang is known for its folk art and handicrafts, particularly kites. Weifang is also famous for New Year woodblock paintings; find out more about both these and other handicrafts at the fascinating Yangjiabu Folk Culture Village, and pick up some beautiful souvenirs to take home at the same time.
It is fascinating to see a mixture of rural lifestyle and cosmopolitan elements in Weifang. Walking along Weifang’s streets, and eating at local restaurants, you will find the cost of living is extremely reasonable. You will also see happy faces of farmers’ kids enjoying “Big Macs” at local brand hamburger chains.
Weifang people are very proud of how they preserved their intangible cultural heritage and even refined it with modern style. The increasingly attention was captured by its cultural core all-over the world. A must-visit city if you never come by. You should even better to come there if you have been there already because you can see more in-depth content than anyone else.
山东省文化旅游厅 Shandong Provincial Department of Culture and Tourism
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Authorized agency for Shandong Provincial Department of Culture and Tourism in the U.S. (山东省文化旅游厅在美授权机构)
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