Zaozhuang metro is located at the southern end of Shandong province. This is a region with striking water sceneries. The historical water town of Tai’erzhuang combines the beauty of Venice with classic charm of Lucca of Italy. The Weishan Lake Wetland is the largest wetland in China. Xiong Er Mountain National Geology Park boasts as the longest underground valley in China from earthquakes 400 years ago. The Baogudu Plateau tops 72 mountain plateaus in Shandong as a national park. Last, but not the least, the world’s number one “Pomegranate Orchard” of 8,000 hectares (20,000 acres) lies in the region. Pomegranate was first transported by Han Merchant into Africa via the Silk Road. It is called the silk and sprice road from Morocco at North Africa.
It was in Zaozhuang that human inhabitations were discovered 7,300 years ago. Approximately 4,300 years ago, the city-states were established near Zaozhuang.
The Grand Canal of China started 2,700 years ago. Canal traffic on the one hand energized the region via merchandise trade. And on the other, it also promoted cultural diversification. Culture and literature flourished and nurtured philosophers like Mozi; carpenters/architects like Luban; and novelist like Jinsan Jia.
The serene mountain views compliment the winding Grand Canal at Zaozhuang. And The Weishan Lake is equally mesmerizing at sunset. It is definitely a sight not to miss. With colorful landscapes ranging from marshes of plains to hills and mountains, you could say Zaozhuang is a feast for the eyes.
According to the 2012 census in Zaozhuang, the population has reached 3.5 million. Since Confucianism originated from Shandong province and Zaozhuang is part of Shandong, the locals are profoundly influenced by it. However, even though the locals are growing in the atmosphere of Confucianism, you still can see the “Xiangma” spirit in their blood which represents indomitable courage, and the Tai’er Zhuang battle is reflected in their character.
Railroad Guerrilla Theme Park. Zaozhuang is a strategic stronghold that connected south and north regions of China. Japanese colonizers certainly saw this. Japan invaded Shandong during the World War II. Railroads were built by the Japanese to transport troops and ammunitions throughout China using Zaozhuang as a hub. Many civilians suffered heavy casualties in Shandong during the war against Japan. The Japanese had burned the historical water town of Tai’erzhuang (“Zhuang” means village in Chinese) to ashes. Local Chinese guerrillas, who fought against Japanese invaders, had repeatedly sabotaged Japan railway tracks and taken over the ammunition depot. The Zaozhuang story of fighting on the railroad was written into a novel. Years later, a film bearing the same name became a national #1 hit. A restored town with a complete World War II scene was recreated to remind visitors what Shandong suffered in the 1940s. You can see typical Shandong villages, Japan strongholds, Japanese army patrolling the streets, Japanese prisons tortured the Chinese people, etc. The re-enactments of Japan’s surrender at the end of the war is performed few times daily at the theme park during the travel season. Shandong had suffered unproportioned casualties from the Japanese invasion.
Tai’erzhuang. An UNESCO designated cultural heritage water-town. Tai’erzhuang, considered to be China’s most beautiful water town, is located in Zaozhuang region. “Zhuang” in Chinese means village. Taierzhuang blends in with 15 km of water throughout the entire town of 3 km2 with buildings and streets fully restored to its original look 150 years ago. Visualize a Venice version of an oriental water town gate opening in front of your eyes while strolling down the historical streets of Tai’erzhuang.
This old city is a rebuilt of the original castle that was completely destroyed by the Japanese army during the World War II. However, a section of a wall with vivid bullet holes are kept intact for educational purpose. Another burial site was also kept to remind people of its history. The solders’ remains continue to be found at the construction sites within the town. History is certain to be remembered and not to be repeated.
Take a look at the architectural varieties. Eight major styles of Chinese architecture are all presented in one place, thanks to the canal traffic which brought people together. Time is tight in the next 48 hours; Tai’erzhuang has a lot to explore. 72 temples, numerous merchants, theatres, museums, talent shows, folklore performances, lion dances on poles, lightshows at night, bar-hopping over lit up streets, rock concerts, restaurants, chartered boat tours in the day or night with live singing onboard, all add up to the fun during your visit. Be sure to stay overnight in town as you will not want to miss a spectacular night show. Be prepared to receive requests from the locals to take pictures with you because foreigners are a rare sight for the locals. Smile and wave back to sweet girls and boys who greet you in English. The sense of a sudden descend into the real world of China is both gratifying and unforgettable.
Zaozhuang – a place to relax, recharge and uncover.
There are 30 themed hotels in Tai’erzhuang. Architectural styles integrate with the naturalness, simplicity, seclusion, and elegance – from fancy to simple – of the city. There is a 7-day motel with clean beds starting at $20/day. It is part of a national chain.
Most restaurants and bars around town are within walking distance and open until late, so visitors have a wide selection to choose from for meals. This is a walkable old town with streets clearly described in 4 different languages, including English and Japanese. This is the only town in Shandong that you will not get lost easily. The locals are also extremely friendly.
Zaozhuang and Tai’erzhuang are both within an hour drive from Linyi airport. They can also be reached via the Beijing Shanghai high-speed train, with 2.5 hours from Beijing and 3 hours from Shangha.
Zaozhuang should be planned for at least 3 nights, and include Tai’erzhuang for the one-night stay.
山东省文化旅游厅 Shandong Provincial Department of Culture and Tourism
美国友康科技有限公司 U-Combination Technology (USA) Inc.
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)
150 E Swedesford Rd, Suite 101,
Wayne, PA 19087