Ladies and gentlemen:
welcome to Baotuquan Spring Park. My name is Miao Meng. I am very pleased to serve as your tour guide today.
In order to give you a general impression, let me make a brief introduction of the park. Featured as a gushing spring garden, the park is located in the downtown area of the city, with Mt. Thousand Buddha to the south, Quancheng Square to the east, and Daming Lake to the north. It occupies about 26 acres in land area. There are altogether 34 springs in the park. Of course the main and most beautiful one is the Baotuquan Spring, which you will be watching in a moment. It will take you about 2 hours to make the tour around the park. The park has two main gates, the east gate and the south gate. Today we’ll enter from the south gate. Ok, this way please.
Ladies and gentlemen, here we are in front of the south gate. The south gate of the park is at the middle of Luoyuan Avenue. It was built in 1995. With its unique outline integrating both traditional and local traits, it is claimed to be the number one gate of Chinese gardens. Isn’t it splendid! Shall we go in.
Just in front of us is the most famous spring, Baotuquan. It was called Luoshui in ancient time and got its present name form the Song Dynasty. It has a long history and has been the source of the Luo River. The three major springs gush simultaneously from underground with thundering sound, which are described as fountains constantly pumping water. The pool of the water is 30 meters long and 20 meters wide. The spring water keeps its temperature around 18 degrees centigrade all year round. In cold winter, the steam forms a curtain of thin fog over the surface. With clear deep water in the spring pool on one side and pavilions of color painting and rich ornaments on the other, visitors feel as if they were in a fairyland on earth. Many writers, philosophers and poets left poems and verses in praise of the wonderful scene.
Look, that pavilion on the west side of the pool is called the Billow Observation Pavilion. It was built in the fifth year of Tianshun emperor of the Qing Dynasty (1461). There are stone tables and benches in it so that visitors can enjoy the scene while relaxing. Embedded on the west wall of the pavilion is the writing of billow observation by a calligrapher of the Qing Dynasty. The stone inscription of No.1 Spring was written by Wang Zhonglin, a famous calligrapher of the Qing Dynasty. Baotuquan Spring carved on a monument to the west of the pavilion was left by Hu Zanzong, governor of Shandong during the Qing Dynasty. On the north bank of the east pool at waterside is the renowned Penglai Tea House, which was visited respectively by Emperor Kangxi and Qianlong, who sat here by the window and enjoyed the colorful charms of the springs over a cup of fragrant tea. At the pleasing taste of water from Baotuquan springs, they even threw out the water they brought all the way with them from Beijing on their inspection to the south. It is said that water from springs further reinforces the taste of good tea and that one would not be visiting a real Jinan without drinking the spring water.
On the north bank of Baotuquan springs is a group of ancient buildings, usually referred to as three palaces. The front one with two stories and three halls is called Luoyuan Hall, and was built during North The Song Dynasty. The building is noted for its extending eaves and patina flavor. On the columns are carved famous lines by Zhaomengfu, a writer of the Yuan Dynasty. They read:“云雾润蒸华不注，波涛声震大明湖”，which mean "The beauty is intensified with foggy steams and moist air; the billow is echoed far from Daming Lake." The handwriting is vigorous and firm, the lines vivid and lifelike, forming a harmonious picture with the real present water world in view. The other two palaces are named respectively as Jiang'e Temple and Eying Temple, which were built in honor of the two imperial concubines of Emperor Shun. On the walls surrounding the palaces are inlaid over thirty stone inscriptions, on which are poems and verses written by celebrities of different dynasties. What is worth mentioning is the twin imperial monuments, on which record epigraphs and poems by Emperor Kangxi who visited here three times and by Qianlong who was here twice. The monuments well illustrate the eminence of Baotuquan springs.
To the south of Baotuquan springs is the White Snow Building at Shiwanquan spring. It was set up in memory of Li Panlong, a writer and scholar of The Qing Dynasty. It was burnt down in a fire and was rebuilt in 1996 together with an opera stage. Here perennial operas and plays are performed, making it a performance center well known not only in China but also in the world. Southeast of Baotuquan springs is a courtyard called Cangyuan Garden, where it is said that Li Panlong was studying. The three halls and two courts in the garden are all connected by twisting open corridors. There are rare flowers, odd trees, green pine trees and queer rockeries in the garden. In 1987, a memorial was set up here for Wang Xuetao, a famous modern painter of flowers and birds. More than two hundred pieces of Chinese painting are here on exhibition all year round.
Out of Cangyuan Garden, across the Fengxi Island bridge, comes in view a pool of clear spring water gushing from underground like a mirror. This is one of the 72 well known springs called Shuyuquan spring. Shady willows around, limpid water down to the visible bottom, gurgling water against rocks as if washing the jade, the jade-like pool lies in harmonious charm with Liuxu spring, Huanghua spring, and Paniu spring. By the side of Liuxu spring and west of Shuyu spring are two stone-laid ponds respectively called Old Gold Thread spring and Cold Thread spring. In them, water veins are caused by waves of water from different direction. It shines like gold thread on a sunny day. Thus they got the names. Since the shining threads require certain sunlight and water conditions to reveal their wonder, only those lucky visitors can enjoy the scene. To the north of Baotuquan springs, are dark green pines and cypresses, blooming flowers and shady lawns, trees of bewildering rocks. One can see Mapaoquan springs just on the rocks. Hidden under tree shade south of the rockwork, there is a four-meter high Taihu stone, lofty and pointing, veins standing out, shaped like a turtle. This is the treasure collected as the number one stone in Jinan by Zhang Yanghao, a well-known prose writer of the Yuan Dynasty. Situated on the north bank of Shuyuquan spring is the memorial hall of Li Qingzhao, a woman poet of the Song Dynasty. This traditional Chinese building has a quiet and unadorned courtyard with streams, a pavilion, Jade Green Room, round corridors, standing rocks in bamboo shade. On the front tablet and two columns of the hall are carved respectively with lines in praise of the woman poet written by Guo Moruo, an eminent contemporary writer in China. The horizontal line reads: "A poet of generations." The vertical means: "From Daming Lake to Baotuquan springs one finds the former residence in the willow shade. In the Shuyuji poem collection and Jinshilu quotations one traces the charm of the poet." In the hall, apart from exhibited works and statue of Li Qingzhao, there are comments, essays, works, calligraphy, paintings on the life and works of this woman poet by celebrities of different times and dynasties. West of Li Qingzhao Memorial Hall is a courtyard with rooms connected by corridors and surrounded on three sides by gurgling streams. This is the Shangzhi College or Shangzhi School for fostering scholars for imperial examinations, which was set up by Ding Baozhen, governor in the ninth year of Emperor Tongzhi.
As a garden inside a garden neighboring the park to the west is the quiet scenic Wanzhu Garden (garden of thousands of bamboo trees), which consists of 13 different courtyards on a land area of 12,000 square meters. As a private garden of unique features, there are such well-known gushing springs as Wangshuiquan, Baiyunquan, and Donggaoquan along with rockeries and plants. The construction of the garden took many years from Yuan Dynasty until now. Some of its owners are Yin Shizhan, Prime Minister of the Qing Dynasty, Wang Ping, a poet of the Qing Dynasty and warlord Zhang Huaizhi during the Civil War period. It was officially open to the public in 1984. The Li Kuchan Memorial was set up here in 1986 to store and exhibit masterpieces of this great Chinese painter. As the largest exhibition of Chinese paintings and calligraphy works, there are over 200 paintings and cultural treasures in 18 exhibition halls. Also put on show all year round in the garden are over 200 pieces of ancient furniture and cultural relics of the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Following the pattern of the traditional Chinese northern residences of square courtyard with houses on four sides, this garden absorbs characteristics of classic gardens in South China. There are twisting corridors connecting all courtyards surrounded by dotted storied houses, halls, and pavilions. Also boasting as three artistic extremes are the stone, wood and brick carvings in the garden, which is listed into An Illustrated Handbook of Traditional Chinese Folk Residence in 1993. Wanzhu Garden is no doubt a precious cultural relic whether in terms of gardening art or historic cultural treasure