Baotuquan ( Jet Spring )

Featured as a gushing springs garden, Baotuquan Spring Park of 27.7 acres in land area is located in the downtown area at South Baotuquan street and the middle of Luoyuan Avenue, with Mt. Thousand Buddha to the south, Quancheng Square to the east, and Daming Lake to the north.

With another name as Jianquan Spring, Baotuquan springs have been the source of the Le River for 2700 years. The three major springs gush simultaneously with thundering sound, which are described as fountains constantly pumping water. The spring water keeps its temperature around 18 degree 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 on a fairyland on earth. Many writers, philosophers and poets left poems and verses in praise of the wonderful scene.

The Billow Observation Pavilion, which extends into the water on the left side of the pool, was built in the fifth year of Tianshun emperor, Ming Dynasty. 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 Ming Dynasty. The stone inscription of No.1 Spring was written by Wang Zhonglin, a famous calligrapher of Qing Dynasty. Baotuquan Spring carved on a monument to the west of the pavilion was left by Hu Zanzhong, governor of Shandong during Ming Dynasty. On the north bank of the east pool at waterside is the renowned Penglai Society, a construction with bright windows and tidy tables. Also called Tea House for Viewing Cranes, the place were 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 northmost one with two stories and three halls is called Leyuan Hall, and was built during North Song Dynasty. The building is noted for its extending eaves and patina flavor. On the columns are carved famous lines by Zhaomeng Zhaoye, a writer of Yuan Dynasty. They read: "The beauty is intensified with foggy steams and moist air; the billows 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 monument, which record epigraphs and poems by Emperor Kangxi who visited here three times and by Qianlong who was here twice. The monument well illustrates the eminence of Baotuquan springs.

South of Baotuquan springs, the White Snow Building at Shiwanquan spring was set up in memory of Li Panlong, a writer and scholar of Ming 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.

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