What Happened to the ‘Most Stylish Train Station in the Far East’?

Jinan, the capital of Shandong province in eastern China, was once home to a spectacular railway station

Designed by a little-known German architect by the name of Hermann Fischer, the station was completed in 1912 in the Jugendstil style — the German counterpart of Art Nouveau.

is characterized by floral and arabesque flourishes, as well as a merging of organic and geometric forms.  The railway station’s domed tower and curved arches were perfect examples of this.

J U G E N D S T I  L

The station was a product of the Sino-German lease treaty of 1898, which gave Germany leaseholds and railway construction and coal rights in parts of Shandong.

Jinan Railway Station was renovated thrice:  By Japanese occupying forces in 1937 and the Chinese Railway Department in 1958 and 1972; the second time was to welcome Prince Sihanouk of Cambodia.

Sadly, the stylish railway station was demolished — to much opposition — in 1992.  Authorities said they needed a larger station to keep up with the growing city’s transportation needs.

Some officials also considered German architecture a symbol of Western imperialism and colonialism.

In 2013, the Jinan government announced its plans to rebuild the iconic building.  However, 10 years later, the project has still not begun.

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