Qingdao (also spelled Tsingtao) is a major sub-provincial city in eastern Shandong province, China. Qingdao – literally translated ‘Green Island’ – the largest city in Shandong province and the #1 seaside metropolis in China is often dubbed as the ‘Switzerland of the East’. Qingdao is also a major seaport and industrial center. With a population of 9.29 million, Qingdao is leading Shandong in the size of a local economy. It is home to international electronics brands Haier and Hisense, and the manufacturing base for trains running in Boston and Philadelphia. This cozy modern city has leveraged its history as one of China’s first gateways to the outside world to achieve its modern glory of being an economic and cultural hub in Northern China.
Located on the western shore of Yellow Sea coast, Qingdao is a major nodal city on the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road arm of the Belt and Road Initiative that connects East Asia with Europe, and has the highest GDP of any city in the province. It has jurisdiction over six districts and four county-level cities. Lying across the Shandong Peninsula and looking out to the Yellow Sea to its south, it borders the prefectural cities of Yantai to the northeast, Weifang to the west and Rizhao to the southwest.
Qingdao is a major seaport, naval base and industrial centre. The world’s longest sea bridge, the Jiaozhou Bay Bridge, links the main urban area of Qingdao with Huangdao district, straddling the Jiaozhou Bay sea areas. It is also the site of the Tsingtao Brewery, the second largest brewery in China.
It is a city with tasty appeals – a short but fascinating history. Having been developed as a German colony from 1891 and then occupied by Japan during the early 20th century, its legacy boasts historic architecture – hillside villas with red-colored roofs, on winding cobbled streets – alongside striking modern designs. Little Fish Hill Park would offer a fantastic view over-looking the city, and out to sea.
Qingdao is considered to be one of the most livable cities in China, with its fresh sea air, breezy and laidback vibe. It has a metro system, with 3 lines already in operation and 13 more on the way. The Jiaozhou Bay Bridge, which held the Guinness World Record for being the longest (26.7 km) roadway bridge over water in December 2012, reaches the main urban area of Qingdao – serving as an excellent introduction to the city and an impressive first sight skyline.
There are a large number of German-style buildings in Qingdao city centre, remarkable considering the German leased-territory period only lasted 16 years (1898–1914). The unique combination of German and Chinese architecture in the city centre, combined with German demographic roots and a large Korean expatriate population, gives Qingdao a distinct atmosphere. An old saying described Qingdao as a city of “red tiles green trees, blue sky and blue sea.” This saying indeed gives a picture of bird view of Qingdao. A larger number of areas in former foreign styles are well preserved. Although the new city area is under large-scale reconstruction, the old city area (especially the western part of Shinan District) still retains many traditional buildings.
Location of Qingdao City (red) in China’s eastern coast
Qingdao retains many buildings with a German architectural style