Cultural riviera

Updated: 2015-11-09 08:01

By Erik Nilsson(China Daily)

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Cultural riviera

Qingdao's seaside is also a popular place for newlyweds to shoot portraits, besides the bayside Badaguan area.[Liu Yonglai/Zhang Yan/Bo Keguo/China Daily]

Antiquated architecture is usually a pretty tough sell for tykes young enough that their bedtime story diets are heavy on royals and magic.

Not here. This is a classic come true for them.

Badaguan's fairy-tale mystique causes a problem for shutterbugs. It's virtually impossible to snap a photo without newlyweds-who, in turn, are there to shoot portraits.

The grandiose concession-era architecture jutting into the Huiquan and Taiping bays attracts busloads of brides and grooms from other provinces, photographers in tow.

Hence, heart sculptures have been set up outside the Granite Castle. (The Chinese name, Huashi, literally translates as Fossil, rather than granite).

Perhaps Qingdao's most eminent castle is the Governor's House Museum.

The 4,000-square-meter mansion was the abode and base of two German governors and later of a Japanese commander.

Mao spent a month here in 1957, sleeping on a plank bed with a bookshelf custom-built in the smoking room. He presided over a Politburo meeting with Zhu De, Zhou Enlai and Deng Xiaoping in the Golden Hall.

The hall is named for its color scheme and is replete with a one-way mirror.

But beyond history, Qingdao's cultural legacy as a port city is tied up in its reputation as a beach town.

It's a holiday destination-and, as such, recently hosted the World Leisure Games. The 10-day event included martial arts, breakdancing and even video-game championships-and, of course, such watersports as dragon-boat racing.

Qingdao has grown as a sailing hub since its designation as the 2008 Olympics maritime-sports venue.

Yachts bob in its main marina.

They nod to a time when Qingdao is sailing, rather than leaping, through the wall toward not only finding leisure in prosperity but also prosperity in leisure.

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