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Hero Hill Culture Market (often referred to as the Weekend Antique Market) is a bizarre bazaar of everything located in Jinan, China.

Here’s a look at our day at the local Chinese market:

It’s most known for its bookstores and calligraphy shops.

You can buy high-quality paper, brushes, and ink as well as books on calligraphy and Chinese writing in general. If calligraphy is your interest, this is the place to be.

The market offers expensive items including traditional Chinese paintings and framing services, bronze lions, dragons, and other figures, and a wide variety of porcelain, both expensive and inexpensive.

Authentic thousand-year-old Song Dynasty jade pieces as well as and cheap new jade pieces are widely available at the market. Store owners are friendly and may invite you in for a traditional tea, whether you are window shopping or purchasing.

You will also find wood and stone carvings that are difficult to imagine given their intricacies and sometimes size.

Hero Hill/Weekend Antique Market literally has everything! And as the name implies there are a lot of antiques.

If the Mao, hardcore Communist-era, is of interest this is the place to get items like original propaganda posters, tin cups, and military medals form that time. You will also find a plethora of historic coin and bill sellers.

The calligraphy and bookstores and many of the antique sellers are professionals. But there are many individuals selling stuff from their attic (or wherever the Chinese keep their unneeded stuff). You can find interesting things in these piles if you are willing to spend some time sifting through the “garage sale” junk.

Between the expensive items and cheap stuff is an endless variety of teapots, jade, carvings, beads, baskets, belts, boxes, jewelry, pipes, walking sticks, colored stones . . .

You will also find modern plastic toys, home furnishings, sunglasses, watches, and practical use items. If you are living in Jinan this is a good first stop for such things.

If you like Chinese cooking, the market has cooking utensils, spices, and other Chinese-style ingredients.

It also has the unexpected such as gourds, live crickets, peacock feathers, spiked walking sticks, cigarettes, and electric razor demonstrations.

If you are there only for the experience, at least get a chop (stamp, to the rest of us) with your name in Chinese. Do this when you first enter because it will take them some time to make it. You can get a wooden one for just a couple of dollars, or a lavish carved jade one.

It’s easy to spend a few hours at the market, but it’s not an all-day activity. If you get to the market in the morning plan on having lunch nearby. Cross the street to the restaurant which is downstairs, below street level. The food is good and not expensive. We had the best-fried eggplant there, which tastes as good as it looks bad.

After lunch cross back to the market and to the right is Hero’s Hill. It is the memorial for soldiers killed in action from Jinan. It’s a good walk up many stairs to the monolith.

At the top, there are several paths with gazeboes along the way. A three-story tower at the top of one hill gives you a nice panorama of Jinan.