Rizhao's allure seen through expats' eyes

(chinadaily.com.cn)| Updated : 2023-05-29

Print Print

The allure of Rizhao goes beyond its coastal beauty and abundant seafood, as the city also boasts a vibrant tea culture, rich historical and traditional heritages, attracting visitors from home and abroad.

It has been a unique experience for Kabeer Haroon Ali from Pakistan, who has been working and living in Shandong province for almost six years. During his two-day trip to Rizhao, Ali had the opportunity to pick tea leaves for the first time at the Fulaiqing Tea Plantation.


Visitors experience tea picking at Fulaiqing tea planation in Rizhao city, Shandong province on May 24. [Photo/chinadaily.com.cn]

The plantation, one of the earliest green tea fields in Rizhao, had played a significant role in the city's exploration of tea cultivation in the 1950s. Today, Rizhao is a major tea-producing location in Shandong and is renowned as the "hometown of green tea" in northern China.

"I had previously known Rizhao as a coastal city, but this is the first time I'm learning about its tea culture. It is a new and exciting experience for me," said Ali, before noting that Rizhao's green tea has a distinct flavor.

Situated in the southeastern corner of Shandong province near the Yellow Sea, Rizhao has a pleasant climate, fertile soil, and abundant sunlight, making it suitable for cultivating high-quality green tea. These natural factors also contribute to the exceptional quality of Rizhao's tea.

During their visit from May 24 to 25, Ali and fellow expats from Canada, Pakistan, and Kenya also explored the city's cultural attractions, including the Ancient City of Ju State or Juguo Ancient Town, Fulai Mountain, and Juzhou Museum.


Expats pose for a group photo at the Ancient City of Ju State in Juxian county, Rizhao on May 24. [Photo/chinadaily.com.cn]

"When we got to the entrance, my mind was totally blown. It is so beautiful. And as you're walking around, you see so many things about the ancient times of China," said Gitau Recheal Mugure, an overseas student from Kenya, when she was visiting the ancient site at night.

Juxian county of Rizhao is the former site of the Ju State during the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC). The historical attraction of the Ancient City of Ju State is a project built by local government that showcases folk customs and architectures from that time.

At a handicraft workshop within the ancient site, the group experienced paper-cutting and ink stone making techniques, as well as the chance to try on hanfu, a traditional Chinese clothing style, which offered them a deeper insight into traditional Chinese culture.

"China's culture has deep roots and represents the essence of the country. This holds true for Rizhao as well," shared Esha Maqbool from Pakistan, who is pursuing a doctoral degree at Shandong Normal University.

During their visit to the Jiaojing Building on Fulai Mountain and the Juzhou Museum, the expats learned about the study of literary criticism and contributions of Liu Xie, a literary critic who lived during the Southern and Northern Dynasties (420-581).

His masterpiece Wenxin Diaolong, or The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons, which makes a detailed exploration of the aesthetic essence of language and literature, had profoundly influenced ancient Chinese literature and art theory and is a significant cultural heritage in Rizhao.

"This trip has been truly memorable, with captivating visits to various places, especially the paper-cutting and tea-picking sites. Learning about the philosophy of the critic, which holds great significance, has been an enriching experience," said Shoaib Kahut from Pakistan.


International visitors try paper-cutting with the guidance of Yu Hong, an inheritor of the technique at a workshop in Rizhao on May 24. [Photo/chinadaily.com.cn]