Discovering Hero Mountain’s Hidden Markets in Jinan

Discovering Hero Mountain’s Hidden Markets in Jinan
By Michael Evans , eChinacities.com

As far as landmarks go, Yingxiong Shan is hard to miss. While its height alone may not exactly merit the lofty name “Hero Mountain,” the stark granite face of the monument at the summit exudes a presence both majestic and slightly ominous. The handful of buildings clustered around the foot of the mountain, on the other hand, appear no different from any other unremarkable corner of the city. But a closer look quickly reveals one of the liveliest and wide-ranging assortment of shops and markets that you’re likely to find in Jinan. 

1) Yingxiong Shan Cultural Market  英雄山文化市场 View In Map
This market is perhaps Yingxiong Shan’s best-kept secret. Arriving at the bus stop that shares the market’s name, a visitor is confronted with a massive, elaborately painted traditional arch marking the entrance to… nothing. The empty, unmarked street beyond may seem at first glance like a dead end, but venturing inside a few dozen metres reveals a second, smaller archway on the right. Within lies a completely different scene.

The Cultural Market is arranged in a long line running roughly parallel to Ma’anshan Lu further down the hill. The shops lining the middle corridor are mainly bookstores and art suppliers (primarily catering to calligraphers). The narrower aisles on either side are dedicated to carved stones and jewellery, except for the first few stalls on the left-hand side, which are practically overflowing with porcelain vases of almost any variety imaginable.

Further on, the market widens to a broad square. Here several larger bookstores offer a much wider selection than the Cultural Market’s smaller booksellers, which are mostly dominated by textbook and exam prep manuals. There is also an underground furniture area, and overlooking the square is a second floor devoted to traditional paintings and calligraphy. 

While it can be a bit subdued on a weekday, the Cultural Market is full of life on the weekends. Nearly every available space is crammed with stalls selling antiques, old money, carved seals and countless other souvenirs and trinkets. In addition to such usual features of a “cultural market,” you can also find vendors selling a head-scratching array of miscellaneous goods ranging from kitchen appliances to patent medicine.

Add:  46 Ma’anshan Lu, Tianqiao District, Jinan
地址:济南市天桥区马鞍山路46号

2) Xin Shijie Shangcheng  新世界商城 View In Map
This market, translated as “New World”, is Yingxiong Shan’s largest and most diverse shopping centre, and it can at times truly seem like a planet of its own. Loud, crowded and chaotic, the labyrinth of stalls crammed into the building’s first floor offer just about anything a shopper could think of, as well as a few things that may never have crossed their mind. The most common booths are those selling office supplies, kitchenware, luggage and storage bins and shelves. But shoppers can also find numerous shops selling tea and teaware, bulk candy and just about anything that is red and festive looking. 

Even more variety can be found on the building’s other floors, reached through a number of twisting and occasionally hard-to-find staircases. The basement is dedicated to furniture, while the second floor is devoted to fabric: bedding, curtains and clothes, as well as a number of tailors and dressmakers. On the third and fourth floors, you’ll find a much quieter scene. Most of the shops here are art galleries, displaying both traditional Chinese as well as contemporary Western-style paintings, as well as several framers and art supply stores.

Exploring Xin Shijie for the first time can be an overwhelming experience, and even veteran visitors are guaranteed to get lost at least once or twice. Be on the lookout for green signs hanging from the ceiling that label areas of the market by their compass directions (in Chinese, of course). And while many of the stalls may seem to offer an occasionally limited range of identical wares, if you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for, keep soldiering on! You’re all but guaranteed to eventually find that elusive item hiding in some corner of the market.

Add: 15 Ma’anshan Lu, Tianqiao District, Jinan
地址:济南市天桥区马鞍山路15号
Opening hours: 08:30-17:30

3) Jinan Yayuan Wenhua Shangcheng  济南雅园文化商城 View In Map
Located next door to Xin Shije, this building offers a more civilized alternative to the Cultural Market, although with considerably less selection. Shops on the first floor range from high-end curios to cheap souvenirs. The upper floors are made up of artists’ studios and galleries featuring paintings, calligraphy and occasional antiques. The higher you climb, the more solemn – and more expensive – the atmosphere becomes.

Add: 17 Ma’anshan Lu, Tianqiao District, Jinan
地址:济南市天桥区马鞍山路17号
Opening hours: 08:30-17:30

4) Yingxiong Shan Morning Market  英雄山早市 View In Map
Squeezed into the narrow space between the mountain itself and the city below, this fence-enclosed market contains the leftovers of whatever couldn’t fit into any of Yingxiong Shan’s other shopping venues. While most of the market is devoted to clothing, the Morning Market’s mostly elderly patrons can also be seen perusing bric-a-brac ranging from dried fruits and herbs to pirated DVDs and plastic tubs crawling with live scorpions. On weekends, the cluster of trees behind the market’s rear entrance is home to a lively collection of vendors selling live birds, birdcages and the occasional pet cricket. 

Add: near the north gate of Yingxiong Shan, Tianqiao District, Jinan
地址:济南市天桥区英雄山  近英雄山北门
Opening Hours: 05:30-12:00 (many vendors do not arrive until around 07:00, some remain open until 13:00)

Getting there:
Bus No. 32, 34, 42, K54, 75, 165 all stop outside the entrances of the Cultural Market and Xin Shijie.  

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Keywords: Jinan shopping Jinan Yingxiong Shan shopping Jinan Hero Mountain shopping Jinan Hero Mountain markets

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