Fangzi Coal Mine Heritage Park
🌏 Crossing of Changning Street and Beihai Road, Fangzi District, Weifang 261200 China (View map)
Image Fangzi Coal Mine Heritage Park
An Interesting Day Out
We walked out of the bus station and asked a few locals the location of ‘Eurotown’ but most had never heard of the place! Eventually we turned right, walked straight on and crossed the main road then after about 100 metres turned right. I knew we were getting on the right track because the architecture of some of the buildings was definitely not Chinese. The style was European, one story with tiled roof and a front door with windows either side. While across the road was a shop advertising, in Chinese, fried food German style!
On we walked, past more European style buildings, across the single track railway line. Unfortunately I couldn’t see a station which SWMBO assured me was there. Another 100 metres and we came to a sign proclaiming we were now in Fangtze Eurotown.
I gather the Eurotown is a series of compounds and the best one is now a centre for the exchange of Sino-German arts and culture. In we went.
It’s a compound of neatly laid out of mainly one-story buildings. They are rather quaint! Lots of children were running around as there’s a modern two-story art school and culture exchange centre at the back of the compound. Of course, they all wanted to practice their ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’ on me, probably the only European to visit the place this year.
One of the larger original buildings is now an art gallery, another is a museum and another is even a bar (1898 beer republic) but as usual nothing was open. Not much to do except walk around and peer through windows. Which is a pity, as it could be a really interesting place illustrating the German and subsequent Japanese history.
After an hour we arrived back at the entrance and lo-and-behold across the road was a poster at a gate for the FangZi Coal Mine museum. The place looked derelict but I wasn’t deterred so bravely set off along a path. After a couple of hundred metres I concluded that this definately wasn’t a museum. I’ve no idea what it had been but it was certainly derelict.
As we retraced our steps to the bus station SWMBO asked various locals about the museum. Much shrugging of shoulders but at last one chap pointed to the bus station and said it was 300 metres past it and we couldn’t miss it. In the 35C heat we trudged past the bus station and there it was. That chap deserves a beer!
Tickets are 10 Yuan for the museum and another 70 Yuan to go down the mine. As usual I waved my passport and we got two tickets for 100 Yuan. In the museum building we were asked to wait a few minutes and then half-a-dozen of us would be taken down the mine for a guided tour.
First stop was for hard hats. Then we walked to the pit-head where we all squeezed into the cage for the 250 metre descent. In a minute we went from 35C to 18C. Bliss!
I suggest trainers as footwear and don’t wear your best clothes. Water is everywhere, there’s lots of old machinery to walk past and stairs to climb. The mine is not dirty but then it’s not spotlessly clean and in places it’s rather gloomy. Don’t wander off or lag behind as there are miles of tunnels to get lost in. To me very interesting but SWMBO wasn’t impressed. You either like coal mines or you don’t!
The underground tour lasted 45 minutes then it was back to the surface. There’s a very nice museum to walk around with a very nice model of the mine, but be aware most labels are only in Chinese.
A wander around outside is well worth the time and effort. There’s a very nice locally built steam locomotive and the machines used to build and maintain them and the mine. Have a look in the winding shed at the electric motor and winding drum for the cage. There’s also a narrow gauge railway around the site using underground rolling stock but it wasn’t running when we were there. One of these days we’ll go to a place where everything is running!
There’s no café but there’s a small stall selling soft drinks. Toilets are very clean. We spent nearly three hours at the museum including the underground tour. Took the No. 2 bus back to WeFang.
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