Zhan Pier, or Zhan Qiao, as it is rendered in pinyin, though the redundant, English-language custom is to call it Zhanqiao Pier (it is also sometimes referred to as Zhanqiao Bridge), is situated in Qingdao Bay, along Taiping Road, near Taiping Road's intersection with Zhongshan Road. Construction of the pier was started in 1891, and was completed a year later, in 1892. It was Qingdao's first pier. Prior to the construction of this pier, Qingdao was a tiny fishing village.
Zhanqiao Pier juts out into Qingdao Bay some 440 meters, with a pavilion, Huilange Pavilion, marking its terminal point in the bay. The construction of the pier was part of the Qing (1644-1911) Dynasty government's plans to fortify Jiaozhou Bay against naval attacks, as China had been in conflict with a number of foreign powers ever since the middle of the 19th century, when China and Great Britain had fought the First Opium War (1839-1842).
There were a number of trade and territorial concessions that had already been forced upon the Qing government as a result of these armed conflicts. In 1897, the German government pressed a similar concession from the Qing government, in which the greater area around Jiaozhou Bay, including Qingdao and all its bays and coves - which also included Zhanqiao Pier - became German territory. This handsome pier, as it stands today, has been rebuilt several times down through the years.
Zhanqiao Pier is no longer used as a commercial pier, but rather, is a tourist attraction, replete with very attractive street lighting and protective post-and-chain fencing - the chain itself suggestive of ship rope, and with the posts in an attractive marine blue - to prevent visitors from falling off the pier, a place for visitors to take a stroll and to enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of the sea, as well as to get a harbor view of the city of Qingdao. As such, Zhanqiao Pier forms a part of a series of boardwalks that line the inner coast of Qingdao Bay.
Zhanqiao Pier's old pavilion, Huilange Pavilion, now serves as an exhibition hall where smaller (but not of lesser importance!) art displays and photographic exhibitions are held. It has become even more famous as the image logo of Qingdao's German-origin Tsingtao Beer - in fact, Huilange Pavilion is one of Qingdao's most famous landmarks.
The pavilion itself is a thing of remarkable beauty, with double roofs and eaves that extend outward and ever so slightly upward. The structure is octagonal in shape, which, for such a small pavilion (especially when viewed from a distance), almost makes it round. It walls consist of glass panels separated by beautiful - and beautifully polished - wood, which arrangement provides ample natural interior lighting for art exhibitions. Its roofs are of glazed, red and yellow tiles.
As the terminal point of the pier that juts into the sea, Huilange Pavilion is said to be a marvellous place from which to view the sea at high tide, when the sea is stormy (but not too stormy!); one almost feels as if one is in a boat, being tossed about by the waves. In contrast, some very low (ebb) tides can cause the sea to retreat to a distance of 100 meters from the pier, exposing clams, which the local citizens are quick to harvest.
Around the pavilion's lower-storey walls is a walkway, with painted wooden columns that extend from the walkway up to the first-storey roof. There is concealed lighting underneath the first-storey roof above the walkway, which lights up the pavilion at night, and which completely changes the aspect of Huilange Pavilion, rendering it a work of art itself, and making Zhanqiao Pier the ideal venue for a romantic nighttime stroll.