Qingdao, also spelled Tsingtao, is one of the most beautiful and clean cities in the People's Republic of China and with a population of around 2.5 million (7 million regional) is the largest city after Jinan (the capital) in Shandong Province. The name "Qingdao" means "The Green Island".
Qingdao is a city steeped in China's 20th century history. Qingdao was taken as part of the an Imperial German concession of Jiaozhou Bay. Despite ongoing discussions with Chinese authorities about giving the Germans territory, on the 7th of November 1897, they landed troops. Their pretext was the murder of two missionaries on the 1st of November of that year.
The concession treaty was signed on March 6, 1889, for a 99 year lease. However, Japan occupied it on August 27, 1914, as part of the First World War. The Germans acquired it as a relatively unimportant town of about 1000 inhabitants. Yet by 1902, it had grown to 668 Caucasians and 15000 Chinese. As of the most recent data available, the city has a population of 2.6 million.
During the colonial period, the Germans left a distinct mark on Qingdao's architecture that can still be seen today in its historic center and train station: although the latter has been mostly torn down for redevelopment, part of the original station has been preserved to be incorporated in the new design. Many German-period buildings have been preserved as heritage monuments. It is a kind of 'Bavaria-on-the-East-China-Sea', where they even sell Bratwurst on the street. In 1903, the world-famous Tsingtao brewery was established by homesick Germans. The Japanese were ousted during the 1918 May 4th Movement but retook the city in 1938.
In 2008 Qingdao will play host to the sailing events of the 2008 Summer Olympics. Qingdao's climate ranges from very hot and humid in the summer to snowstorms in winter. Qingdao is the ideal destination if you want to combine sea-side fun with your trip to China.