So on our trip to mount Tai on Sunday our tour guide was quite knowledgeable and was telling us that Jinan was named after the Ji river which ran to the north of the city. In Chinese nan means south so the name is literally south of the Ji river. Several years ago do to a big flood the Yellow river washed out the Ji river and it is no more but the city remains. The Yellow river now runs to the north of Jinan with mountains on the other three sides. Because of these mountains, Jinan is a very long, narrow city only about 13 kilometers wide. This make for bad traffic all the time.
Jinan is nicknamed the city of springs due to all of its springs of course. With all of this water underground trying to get an underground transit system has been daunting. They have one in the works and expect it to be up and running in about a year. They have plans for a second, above ground system to run in about two years. They are hoping this helps with the traffic issues.
Fun facts for my German side of the family. The City of Qingdao (pronounced like ching-dow), about five hours away by car is on the sea and was settled heavily by the Germans in 1889. According to our guide the city looks like a European city rather than a Chinese city. He referred to Jinan as still being a village. Not due to its size as Qingdao is only bigger by 2 million, but because it has stayed populated by the Chinese and has a more Chinese look and feel.
The Germans of Qingdao started a brewery in 1903 due to the great water in the area and created many jobs and the world famous Tsingtao brewery. That brewery is the second largest in China today. It is no longer owned by the Germans but the beer is served in most restaurants in Jinan today.