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Qingdao has had a turbulent century, but it's emerged as one of China's most charming cities. It was a sleepy fishing village until the end of the 19th century, when Germany, using the killing of two German missionaries as a pretext, set up another European concession to take advantage of Qingdao's coastal position. The German presence lasted only until 1914, but locals continued to build German-style houses, and large parts of the Old Town make visitors feel as if they have stumbled into a town in the Black Forest. Unlike many cities that had foreign concessions, Qingdao has recognized the historical value of these buildings and is now enthusiastic about preserving them. With its seafront promenades, winding colonial streets, and pretty parks, Qingdao is probably China's best city for strolling.
Home to the country's best-known beer, Tsingtao, Qingdao is very accommodating when it comes to alcohol consumption. (Look for beer being sold on the streets in plastic bags.) But wine drinkers should take heart, as the region is also developing a much-talked-about wine industry.
The city is a destination for golfers, having many of the country's best courses. But Qingdao added a new sport of note when it hosted the sailing events of the 2008 Olympics in the new Qingdao Sailing Center. Beijing invested a whopping $370 million for its world-class International Sailing Center.
Qingdao at a Glance
- Eight Passes (Bādàguān)
- German Governor's Residence (Qīngdăo yíngbīnguăn)
- Granite Mansion (Huāshí lóu)
- Huadong Winery (Huádōng Bǎilì jiǔzhuāng)
- Lingyan Temple (Língyánsì)
- Lu Xun Park (Lüxùngōngyuán)
- Mount Lao (Láoshān)
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