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Ancient Places / Trip Ideas

The Eight Great Passes: a blossom of brick and mortar

By Wei Jia

June 9

About 4.3 kilometers to the east of the Qingdao Railway Station is a palette of architecture and vegetation that is worlds away from the former’s hectic scenes.

About 4.3 kilometers to the east of the Qingdao Railway Station is a palette of architecture and vegetation that is worlds away from the former’s hectic scenes.

About 4.3 kilometers to the east of the Qingdao Railway Station is a palette of architecture and vegetation that is worlds away from the former’s hectic scenes.

The scenic area, called Eight Great Passes, has streets named after famous fortified passes in ancient China, hence its name. The area, however, couldn’t be further away from a garrison. No arrows would pierce through its leafy trees and no swords would cross to disturb the flower petals dotting its quiet streets.

A diverse variety of trees line the streets in the Eight Great Passes, giving each street its own unique characteristics, with the flora tinting the area with a variety of vivid colors as the seasons rotate. Peach blossoms, begonia flowers, cedar trees, maples, gingko trees and plane trees, among others, keep the charm of the Eight Great Passes intact all year round. That is why people say you could “know the season by looking at the flowers and tell the name of the street by its scent.”

The Eight Great Passes in fall. [Image Credit: VCG]
Scattered in the fragrant shade are more than 200 buildings in styles from more than 20 countries such as France, Germany, Japan and Denmark. Most of these buildings were constructed in the 1930s, designed by both Chinese and foreign architects. From ancient Greek, Gothic, Renaissance and Byzantine to Baroque, Rococo and eclectic, a dazzlingly wide-ranging parade of architectural styles mesh with the natural half of the area’s enchantment for an elegantly delightful and mesmerizingly anachronistic view.

The Princess Tower in the Eight Great Passes. [Image Credit: VCG]
Your feet wouldn’t sore even if you want to take in all the buildings and trees in the Eight Great Passes, as the area, despite all the styles of buildings and kinds of plants it has, is only 0.7 square kilometers large, or small. Meaning there is no letup in the beauty, both natural and man-made, flooding your senses. And as you amble down the streets, you can’t help wondering, with a touch of envy, about the residents, past and present, in those tree-veiled houses on either side.

The Eight Great Passes is open to the public with no admission fee 24/7. The nearest airport is Qingdao Liuting International Airport. Airport Shuttle Line 2 connects the airport and the Qingdao Train Station, where there are many bus routes that take you to the Eight Great Passes.

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