Be the Confucius Tourism Envoy, Feel the Charm of Chinese culture

    Friendly Shandong, the home of Confucius, welcomes you!





    where the great teacher Confucius was born,

    where you will find majestic Mt. Tai,

    and where the mighty Yellow River meets the Pacific!


    (Located between Beijing and Shanghai, Shandong is a stop for 87 high-speed rail trains daily)


    China’s Shandong Province, known in ancient times as either “Qilu” or “Lu,” is where the Qi and Lu states of the Spring and Autumn period (771 – 476 BCE) were located. A great many of China’s famous thinkers, including Confucius, Mencius, Yan Hui, Zengzi, Zisi, Mozi, and Sunzi, were born here. Confucianism, traditionally one of China’s dominant schools of philosophy, has had a long and far-reaching influence as a major aspect of Chinese civilization. Its influence spread beyond the borders of China, becoming embraced by much of East Asia and elsewhere. On March 24, 2019, French President Emmanuel Macron presented Chinese President Xi Jinping with the original 1688 French translation of An Introduction to the Analects of Confucius, explaining that Confucius’ philosophy strongly influenced such French thinkers as Voltaire, serving as a precious source of inspiration for the Enlightenment in France.


    Mt. Tai, located in Shandong, is regarded as the most sacred of China’s Five Great Mountains and a symbol of prosperity and peace for the nation and its people. Great Chinese emperors of the past (such as Qin Shi Huang, Emperor Wu of Han, Emperor Gaozong of Tang, Emperor Xuanzong of Tang, and Emperor Zhenzong of Song) visited Mt. Tai to worship the heavens and earth. In addition, Shandong is where the Yellow River, known in China as the “Mother River,” spills into the sea, creating a magnificent landscape.


    Shandong is a hotspot for Chinese culture and tourism. With a population of over 100 million, its GDP is the third-greatest in the country while its GDP per capita exceeds USD 10,000.


    Located on China’s east coast at the lower reaches of the Yellow River, just across the Yellow Sea from Korea and Japan, it is an important endpoint of the Belt and Road Initiative. The province covers an area of 155,800 square kilometers, and its territorial seas total 159,600 square kilometers. It has 16 cities large enough to be subdivided into districts, such as Qingdao and Jinan (the provincial capital).


    Tracing China’s Sages


    Confucius: Born Kong Qiu (pseudonym: Zhongni) and raised in Zouyi (present-day Qufu, Shandong) of the Lu state during the late Spring and Autumn period, this great teacher has long been hailed a sage. In Shandong, he taught the Five Classics (five of the greatest classic Chinese texts) and the Six Arts (rites, music, archery, chariot riding, calligraphy, and mathematics), and with his many students, Shandong became the world’s first major “study-abroad” location. Confucius traveled to a number of kingdoms, advocating benevolence, righteousness, etiquette, wisdom, and loyalty. Interestingly, some of his descendants live in Shandong to this day.


    Zengzi: Known as the “zong sage,” was a younger contemporary of Confucius from Nanwu (present-day Pingyi) of the Lu state and became one of China’s greatest thinkers. He, along with his father, was one of Confucius’ 72 most outstanding pupils and is an important representative of Confucianism.


    Mencius: Known as the “ya sage,” lived about a century later during the Warring States period (475 – 221 BCE) in the Zou state. He carried on and developed Confucianism and is considered second only to Confucius as an icon of Confucianism.


    Besides these Confucian thinkers, Shandong produced a great many other philosophers, statesmen, scientists, military strategists, and writers, such as Mozi (the founder of Mohism), calligraphy master Wang Xizhi, the great military strategist Sunzi, the architectural genius Lu Ban, the wise statesman Zhuge Liang, and the renowned female poet Li Qingzhao.


    Shandong is home to many famous people of our times too, such as China’s first Nobel laureate for literature, Mo Yan.


    Confucius Memorial Ceremony, China’s Grandest Ancient Ceremony Still in Existence


    The Confucius Memorial Ceremony is a major event held in commemoration of China’s greatest teacher at temples dedicated to him, especially the one in Qufu. It is a tradition that has persisted unbroken for over two millennia, an amazing aspect of traditional worship and culture that sees involvement by people from around the globe. The ceremony integrates music, singing, dancing, and traditional etiquette, hence being commonly referred to as the “Great Event of Music and Dancing.”

    每年9月28日,是孔子诞辰,全球孔氏家族的人们都会汇集到曲阜举办隆重的祭孔大典,现已形成了中国(曲阜)国际孔子文化节。孔子文化节期间,先后有孔子后裔、各界人士代表、学生代表、外宾、海外侨胞等分批祭拜孔子, 驻华使节及国内外知名人士也会受邀参加;开展孔子家乡修学游、寻根朝敬游、孔庙拜师游等旅游活动以及各类博览会等合作洽谈活动;举办大型文艺晚会和形式多样的民间艺术表演。

    On Confucius’ birthday, September 28, people surnamed “Kong” (which is Confucius’ surname) from all over the world congregate in Qufu for the ceremony, which has been officially dubbed the “Qufu International Confucius Culture Festival.” At such time, Confucius’ descendants, people from various walks of society, students, foreign nationals/visitors, and overseas Chinese take turns as groups worshiping Confucius. Foreign diplomats and famous people from China and overseas are also invited to the event. At this time, study tours, “roots and homage” tours, tours to worship at the Temple of Confucius, and all kinds of exhibitions and conferences are held. In addition, a huge nighttime celebration and a variety of folk performances are put on.


    While serving as a platform for the worship of Confucius and a major international festival, the ceremony is also the time at which the Nishan Forum on World Civilizations is held.


    Landscape of World Heritage Sites,


    Shandong has four UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Temple and Cemetery of Confucius and the Kong Family Mansion in Qufu, Mt. Tai, the Great Wall of Qi, and a section of the Grand Canal. Of these, Mt. Tai is known as “the most venerated of the Five Great Mountains” and was the first World Heritage Site to be named for both its cultural and natural aspects.




    Shandong still has on display perfectly preserved relics left behind by the ancient sages who established China’s cultural foundations.

    Every year, students from all over the world come to Qufu to pay homage to Confucius and gain a clearer understanding of the Kong family through its ordered preservation of tradition at the temple, cemetery, and family mansion of Confucius and take part in the solemn, magnificent Confucius Memorial Ceremony.

    Chinese surnames have 5,000 years of history, but very few of those who bear them have maintained complete genealogies to the present day. However, in Qufu, you will be able to see the Kong family genealogy, China’s genealogy that has endured the longest and is the most complete.


    Confucius Temple


    Built in 478 BCE, kings and emperors have worshiped China’s great teacher at this site over the centuries. It is the temple dedicated to the worship of Confucius that is the oldest, largest, and most exquisitely built in the world.


    Confucius Mansion


    Also known as the Mansion of the Duke of Yansheng (a title first given to an official who was a direct descendant of Confucius), the complex was continually expanded over the ages as emperors bestowed titles on Confucius’ descendants. It is also known as the “greatest home under the heavens.”


    Cemetery of Confucius


    Commonly called the “cemetery of the greatest sage,” this burial site for Confucius and his descendants is the world’s oldest and largest cemetery dedicated to a single family. Kong family members over the ages have planted all kinds of interesting flowers and trees here. Presently, there are over 100,000 ancient and rare trees on the grounds, and with all the other beautiful vegetation, the entire landscape is quite breathtaking.


    The Story of Louxiang Street


    Shandong is rich with culture, and even some of the smallest of streets have brilliant stories. There is a street named Louxiang in Qufu, which is where Confucius’ favorite disciple, Yan Hui, lived. Yan Hui began studying under Confucius at the age of 14 and remained a follower his whole life. He was known for his virtuous conduct, and since his ideas were basically the same as those of his master, he later became known as the “successor sage.” His diligence and virtuous conduct were widely praised by later generations, and to commemorate him, the street where he lived was given its present name (“lou” means “humble,” and “xiang” means “lane”), and the well from which he drew water was named the “Louxiang Well.” Furthermore, the Yanle Pavilion was built over the well as a way to commemorate Yan Hui’s unwavering adherence to his ideals despite his poor, humble state of life.


    The Great Wall of Qi, the Oldest Section of the Great Wall


    It is said that a Chinese person who does not visit the Great Wall is not truly Chinese. The solid gray wall meanders through quiet, sleepy mountains for thousands of kilometers. The earliest sections of the wall, known as the “Great Wall of Qi,” were built in the Qi state (in present-day northern Shandong), which existed during the Spring and Autumn period. Even now, some of the wall remains in eight of Shandong’s cities. In 1987, the Great Wall of Qi was named a World Heritage Site.


    At 641 kilometers long, the Great Wall of Qi winds through the hills of the Shandong Peninsula, ridges of the Taiyi Mountains, and the Yellow River floodplain, dividing the province into northern and southern sections. In its earliest days, it was the boundary between the Qi and Lu states. The base of the wall is relatively well-preserved, but much of the wall itself has collapsed.


    The Grand Canal: China’s Bloodline


    The Grand Canal, which stretches 2,700 kilometers, is the world’s oldest, largest, and longest artificial canal. Between its construction in 468 BCE and the Industrial Revolution, it was the world’s largest-scale and most-extensive civil engineering feat, serving as China’s bloodline. The Shandong section of the canal is 643 kilometers long and passes through Dezhou, Liaocheng, Tai’an, Jining, and Zaozhuang.


    Spirituality in the Mountains


    Mt. Tai, the Greatest of All China’s Mountains


    Mt. Tai has made quite a name for itself. In addition to its unsurpassed natural beauty, it is full of history and culture. Kings and emperors throughout Chinese history have worshiped the heavens and earth there. Confucius once said, “He who scales Mt. Tai may view the world in its entirety,” which perfectly describes the magnificent spirit and charm of the mountain. Its beauty could be said to be representative of the cultural essence of all mountains in China.


    This mountain is not only where kings and emperors worshiped but also where Buddhism and Taoism flourished. In addition, all of China’s great poets visited Mt. Tai, leaving behind countless poems inspired by what they experienced there. It has long been believed to possess an amazing power in the minds of the Chinese. For example, when people built houses, they would erect an inscribed stone tablet associated with Mt. Tai to ward off evil and disaster and bring good fortune.


    Worshiping on Mt. Tai


    The term fengchan refers to the grand ceremonial worship of the heavens, earth, and ancestors on Mt. Tai by China’s kings and emperors in the hope of receiving guidance, instruction, and enlightenment from the spirit realm. The ancients believed Mt. Tai was the tallest of all mountains and thus hailed it as the greatest. As a result, only the highest echelon of society, the rulers, was permitted to hold these ceremonies on the mountain.


    Spiritual Cultivation near the Sea at Mt. Lao


    Spiritual beings were always the main characters in Chinese mythology. Looking for the secret to longevity from the gods was a common pursuit of many Chinese rulers of ancient times. These beings were believed to live in highly spiritual places. For this reason, Mt. Lao, located on the coast of Shandong, became a gathering place for practitioners of self-cultivation


    Mt. Lao gained fame as a result of Taoist veneration and became known as the greatest of all the coastal mountains. At one point, over a thousand Taoist practitioners resided there, making it the second-largest site for the Quanzhen sect of Taoism. Numerous famous Taoists cultivated themselves here, including Qiu Chuji, the founder of the Dragon Gate School and a native of Qixia, Shandong, who once traveled thousands of kilometers westward to see Genghis Khan and persuade him to stop killing the people. The edifice he built for spiritual cultivation, the Taixu Temple, sits on the banks of the famously beautiful Changchun Lake in Qixia.


    Penglai, Home of Gods


    The coast was frequently believed to be home to supernatural beings in Chinese culture. People seeking the secret of immortality frequently did so among the coastal mountains. Mount Penglai is one of the “three mountains” in the Chinese expression “The Three Mountains and Five Peaks,” which refers to places believed to be the habitations of deities. This area is known as “a dwelling place of deities in the mortal world” because it was once believed that self-cultivation here could lead to immortality, as well as its blue skies and azure sea, warm sunshine and sandy beaches, and leisurely atmosphere.

    四、中国人独到匠心的智慧 ——指尖上的山东

    Unparalleled Wisdom of Shandong’s Artisans


    Millennia of the passing down of knowledge have allowed the Chinese to produce exquisite pieces of work with their hands. The kites of Weifang, which were once presented as gifts by the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, are one such item. Lunar New Year prints from the village of Yangjiabu are full of a sense of Chinese folk culture. Fostered by the unique local culture, the folk traditions of Shandong are many and varied. Extremely refined paper-cutting, Qi brushes, the grain pictures of Dongming County, dough figurines, Lu embroidery, glass art, and peach-wood sculptures are all part of Shandong’s traditional cultural spirit of forever seeking perfection and preserving heritage.


    Kites of Weifang


    Kites are believed to have originated in China over 2,000 years ago and were one of China’s first pieces of handiwork. During the cold-weapon era, kites were even used as part of military strategy. Sometime during the Tang dynasty (618 – 907), kites were no longer enjoyed only by the imperial household as the common people began using them. Making a kite is by no means a simple task, and they have always been a precious aspect of China’s handicraft heritage.


    World Kite Museum


    The World Kite Museum in Weifang is the world’s largest and China’s only museum dedicated to kites. It houses kites from all around the world and various time periods along with related historical artifacts.


    Porcelain of Zibo


    Porcelain from Zibo is made through an ancient technique. The Zibo Chinese Ceramics Museum boasts the largest-scale, highest-quality, and most complete collection of ceramics in China. Within the museum are about a dozen galleries, including the Ancient Ceramics Gallery, Contemporary Ceramics Gallery, and Famous Ceramics Gallery. These galleries are full of precious pieces (over 10,000 in all) by masters of their trade from numerous periods in history.


    Glass of Boshan


    Glass was used by the imperial family. China’s glass-making, an exquisite art form, began long ago in ancient Boshan of Shandong. Having been passed down through the generations, the industry is still thriving there with numerous talented craftsmen. While watching them work, you can see the modesty, self-discipline, and gentle warmth the people of Shandong are known for. And from the pieces of glass they produce, you can see a persistence that may be defined by the Chinese saying, “It takes a decade to forge a fine sword.”


    Yangjiabu Wood Prints for the Lunar New Year


    Lunar New Year pictures are a symbol of the New Year in China—if you don’t have these pictures in your house, then you’re not really celebrating the New Year. Wood printmaking for these pictures originated in Yangjiabu over 1,000 years ago. The pictures are a form of fine local folk art that no tourist, local or foreign, is able to pass up buying.


    Traditional Tiger Dolls


    Tiger dolls are something you commonly see in pictures of Chinese children, and the best tiger dolls, whether they be in the form of a toy or of caps and slippers, are made in Boxing of Shandong. In Boxing, every child has all sorts of tiger dolls, as the dolls are viewed as good luck charms for health and safety.


    Grain Pictures of Dongming County


    The traditional folk art of creating pictures out of grains, also known as “lucky grain pictures,” in Dongming County is done by pasting grains of different colors onto paper (the grains are first processed to ensure they won’t rot or be damaged by insects). The pictures represent the ideas of a good harvest for the year and peace and prosperity for China and its people. Hanging on walls with their rich colors and refined design and craftsmanship, they are known as “food for the spirit.”


    Treasures of the Study from Shandong


    The Chinese have long placed great importance on learning, and that goes for the tools used in learning as well. The Qi brushes and ink stones produced in Shandong represent two of the “four treasures of the study” (the brush, paper, ink, and ink stone).


    Qi brushes: The term “Qi brush,” the most famous of China’s calligraphy brushes, refers to brushes produced in Guangrao County, Shandong. The brushes are made via a process of over 150 steps, and in the end, they each possess the “four virtues” of a good brush: they are sharp (referring to the tip when the hairs are gathered together in a point), even (the lengths of all the hairs are the same when the tip of the brush is flattened), round (in terms of the body of the hairs when gathered together), and strong (the form of the hairs as a whole always maintains its proper shape). As a result, Qi brushes are highly affirmed by Chinese calligraphists.


    Linqu red streaked ink stones: In ancient times, these were China’s most well-reputed ink stones.


    Nishan ink stones: Named for the place where the stone is obtained (Nishan, a mountain where Confucius is believed to have been born), these stones were first made about 500 years ago. According to records, they were given as tribute to the emperor by the Kong family.


    Shandong is a major tourist destination. It has a complete tourism-oriented system with over 600 star-grade hotels, 1,234 A-grade scenic spots, over 2,300 travel agencies, 79 international flight routes, and over 600 international sea routes. It also boasts 35 cities (including 18 county-level cities) named by the National Tourism Administration as outstanding cities for tourism, over 3,500 villages with well-developed tourism industries, and 39 national-level industrial tourism demonstration bases.


    In recent years, Shandong has worked hard to build up ten tourist destination brands with the following names: Sacred Land of the Far East, Coastal Paradise, The Peace of Mt. Tai, Jinan Hot Springs, Capital of the Ancient Qi State, Shandong Section of the Grand Canal, Land of the Setting for the Famous Novel Water Margin, Meeting Point of the Yellow River and the Pacific, Kinship on Mt. Yimeng, and City of Kites and Dinosaurs.


    Furthermore, Linzi of Shandong is known as the birthplace of soccer (football). In 2004, FIFA affirmed that cuju (literally “kickball,” an ancient Chinese game) was the origin of this globally popular game.


    With Shandong’s lofty peaks, lengthy rivers, and extensive coast, there is unlimited room for exploration and discovery by travelers. If you are a fan of Chinese culture, want to learn more about Shandong, and have interest in coming to the homeland of Confucius to work or study, then hurry up and register for the Confucius Tourism Envoy’s Test!


    Come to Shandong, the “cradle of Confucianism,” as a “traveling emissary of Confucius” and follow in the footsteps of China’s intellectuals on an enriching journey through nature and culture.


    Confucius once said, “Is it not a delight to be visited by friends from afar?” Here on the coast of China, along the banks of the Yellow River, at the foot of Mt. Tai, and in the homeland of Confucius, we are looking forward to your arrival!


    Friendly Shandong welcomes you!