There are many interesting things to do in Shandong - a coastal province of the People's Republic of China and is part of the East China region. Individually, the two Chinese characters in the name "Shandong" means "mountain" (山) and "east" (东). Shandong could hence be translated literally as "east of the mountains" and refers to the province's location to the east of the Taihang Mountains.
Shandong has played a major role in Chinese history since the beginning of Chinese civilization along the lower reaches of the Yellow River. It has served as a pivotal cultural and religious center for Taoism, Chinese Buddhism and Confucianism. Shandong's Mount Tai is the most revered mountain of Taoism and a site with one of the longest histories of continuous religious worship in the world. The Buddhist temples in the mountains to the south of the provincial capital of Jinan were once among the foremost Buddhist sites in China. The city of Qufu is the birthplace of Confucius and was later established as the center of Confucianism. Confucianism developed from what was later called the Hundred Schools of Thought from the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius.
Shandong's location at the intersection of ancient and modern north–south and east–west trading routes has helped establish it as an economic center. After a period of political instability and economic hardship that began in the late 19th century, Shandong has experienced rapid growth in recent decades. Home to over 100 million inhabitants, Shandong is the world's sixth-most populous subnational entity, and China's second most populous province. The economy of Shandong is China's third largest provincial economy with a GDP of CNY¥8.3 trillion in 2021 or USD$1.3 trillion, which is equivalent to the GDP of Mexico. Compared to a country, it would be the 15th-largest economy and the 15th most populous as of 2021. Its GDP per capita is around the national average.
Shandong is considered one of China's leading provinces in education and research. It hosts 153 higher education institutions, ranking second in East China after Jiangsu and fourth among all Chinese provinces/municipalities after Jiangsu, Guangdong and Henan. As of 2022, two major cities ranked in the top 70 cities in the world (Jinan 36th and Qingdao 68th) by scientific research output, as tracked by the Nature Index.
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