Jinan: a veritable City of Springs
Facing the Yellow River to the north and bordering Mount Tai to the south, Jinan, capital of Shandong province is located between a zone of uplands and plains, with a variety of natural resources and beautiful landscapes.
The city has long been hailed as Quancheng (City of Springs), with more than 800 natural artesian springs dotting its landscape and boasting natural beauty.
The water of all these springs originates from an Ordovician karst aquifer under the city.
As the terrain around Jinan slopes from the south to the north, the recharge area for the aquifer is located in the mountainous area to the south of the city. The recharge area of the springs covers 1,500 square kilometers, out of which 550 sq km provide direct recharge and 950 provide indirect recharge.
Altogether, the springs fed by the aquifer have a discharge of about 300,000-350,000 cubic meters per day.
Zeng Gong, a noted poet in the Song Dynasty (420-479) commented on the Qi State - one name for the region in ancient times - as "crowned the world with springs".
In the old neighborhood alone there are more than 140 springs, including the renowned ones gracefully named as Baotu, Black Tiger and Pearl springs, as well as the Five-Dragon Pool.
Springs has instilled spirit into the city with more than 4,000 years of history.
Baotu Spring (Baotu Quan)
Baotu Spring of Jinan, Shandong province. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
It is the symbol of Jinan and it is also one of the three iconic scenic spots in the city, alongside Qianfo Mountain and Daming Lake.
The Baotu Spring is the most renowned spring among the 72 named artesian springs in the downtown area of the city and is also known as the First Spring in China.
The spring is a culturally significant artesian karst spring. After visiting the spring, Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) praised it as the "Number One Spring under the Heaven".
The Baotu Spring is part of a cluster of approximately 20 named springs.
The spring pool of the Baotu Spring is fed by underground limestone water through three outlets; the volume of the water coming out of the spring can reach peak values up to 1.6 cubic meters per second. The water jets from the spring are said to have reached up to 26 meters.
The water temperature in the spring remains constant at 18 degrees Celsius through the entire year. In cold winters, just like clouds, the water mist rises and floats over the spring pool.
Visitors are drinking stall tea which is brewed with spring water. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
Pure in quality and mellow in taste, the spring water is ideal for drinking and making tea. Tea tasting is one of the favorite pastimes in the city. There is a saying here that says, you will spoil your Jinan tour if you do not drink the tea brewed with the Baotu Spring water.
A night view of Baotu Spring in Jinan, Shandong province. [Photo by Ju Chuanjiang/ China Daily]