Penglai City viewed from the Penglai Pavilion
|Country||People's Republic of China|
|• Total||1,128.5 km2 (435.7 sq mi)|
|Time zone||China Standard (UTC+8)|
Penglai (simplified Chinese: 蓬莱; traditional Chinese: 蓬萊; pinyin: Pénglái), is a port, county-level city and an administrative subdivision of the prefecture-level city Yantai in Shandong Province, People's Republic of China, on the northeastern (Bohai Sea) coast of the province. The port was formerly called Dengzhou (Chinese: 登州; pinyin: dēngzhōu; Wade–Giles: Teng-chou). Penglai Water City or Water Fortress (Chinese: 水城; pinyin: Shuíchéng), a fortified harbor hidden from the sea, is one of China's oldest military ports, built in 1376 under the Ming Dynasty and is a protected historical monument. It was "the harbor for the fleet of imperial war junks and town for the semi-imperial garrison."  The Water City is currently being rebuilt at a cost of 500 million yuan (more than 60 million dollars). There is a plank walk along the cliffs nearby.
Penglai is the northernmost part of mainland Yantai and located in central Yantai City. Except for the Bohai Sea to the north, Penglai is entirely surrounded by other divisions of Yantai: Fushan District is to the east, Longkou City to the west, and Qixia City to the south. Its limits in geographic coordinates are 37° 25'–37° 50' N, 120° 35'–121° 09' E.
Penglai was the first port on the Shandong peninsula that was opened to foreigners in the 19th century, so it was the first place Christian missions were established. Subsequently, it was overshadowed by the port of Yantai (Chefoo), 55 miles to the east. Its scenery has earned the city fame as the fabled spot where the Eight Immortals set out floating over the ocean from the Red Cliffs (Dan Cliffs 丹崖) there. Because of this connection with the immortals, the Emperors Qin Shi Huang and Han Wu Di both came to Penglai looking for an elixir of immortality.
The city is also famous for its mirages out at sea, which are frequent during May and June.
374,400 Penglai citizens work in agriculture, with the remaining 75,600 in various other sectors.
Penglai is said to be the place where Qin Shi Huang, the first Chinese emperor, sent off five hundred boys and five hundred girls on ships to the east, to look for the islands of immortality. "There are tales of a mystic dolphin seen from the cliffs above, at which the mighty Emperor cast an impotent spear and knew that his days were numbered.
"The gray walls of the city itself are crowned by gate towers of three stories instead of the usual two, because the uncle of the first Emperor of the Sui dynasty (A.D. 589-618) was once...prince of that territory."
Penglai has been ranked by the Chinese government as a top domestic tourist destination. More than US$25 million has been invested into developing the Penglai Pavilion and the Penglai Water Fortress.
The Penglai Pavilion is a large park of ancient buildings, palaces and temples, that have been restored and rebuilt. It has been a tourist goal for more than a thousand years, and the site features inscriptions from famous poets and calligraphers like Su Shi and Dong Qichang.
Among other cultural attractions of Penglai are the Naval Museum with exhibits of ancient ships, and the restored residence of the famous patriotic general Qi Jiguang. Penglai also has the largest ocean aquarium in Asia. It includes a polar area, a shark hall, a tropical rainforest, and a theater with mermaids, dolphins and sea lions.
A picturesque festival takes place in January for the birthday of Tianhou, a local sea goddess.
While tourism is the mainstay of Penglai’s economy, reportedly bringing more than two million tourists annually, in fact the entire center of the town (around the harbour) was walled off and completely razed in 2006.
The production of wine is the second largest industry in the province. Agriculture is first. However, in Penglai, tourism is the primary industry, and wine-making is second.
The hills south of Penglai have an average elevation of 200 metres (660 ft), while the coastal areas are relatively flat. Most of the soil is loose, well-aerated, and rich in minerals and organic matters that enable full development of the root systems.
The wineries are located mainly in the Nanwang Grape Valley and along the Yan-Peng Sightseeing Highway. The main varieties grown there, like Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Gernischt, Merlot, Riesling and Chardonnay, are all reaching 20 years of age, considered to be the golden stage for these grapes. Most of them maintain an average sugar content of above 20%. The Cabernet is especially typical, with good color and a dense fragrance.
The city contains seven townships (镇), five subdistricts (街道), and three development zones (区):
- Beigou Town (北沟镇): contains Xicheng Port Industrial Park (西城临港工业区)
- Chaoshui Town (潮水镇)
- Cunli Town (村里集镇)
- Daliu Town (大柳行镇): contains a namesake industrial park
- Daxindian Town (大辛店镇)
- Dengzhou Subdistrict (登州街道): where Qin Shi Huang reputedly visited to gain immortality
- Liujiagou Town (刘家沟镇)
- Nanwang Subdistrict (南王街道)
- Penglai Economic Development Zone (蓬莱经济开发区): contains three industrial parks
- Penglai Tourism-Vacation Area (蓬莱旅游度假区)
- Penglai Urban District (蓬莱城区)
- Penglaige Subdistrict (蓬莱阁街道)
- Xiaomenjia Town (小门家镇)
- Xingang Subdistrict (新港街道)
- Zijing Subdistrict (紫荆山街道)
Together, the three qu (zone, district, and area) co-exist with the coastal Xingang Subdistrict.
- Qi Jiguang (戚继光, 1528－1588) Ming Dynasty general and national hero who fought Japanese pirates
- Henry Luce (1898–1967) - born in Penglai, founder of TIME, Fortune, and Life.
- Ida Pruitt (1888–1985) - born in Penglai, spoke fluent Chinese, prolific writer on China
- Wu Peifu (吴佩孚, 1874–1939) - army general, later became one of the most powerful military rulers in China during the Warlord Era (1916–1928)
- Meng Xuenong (simplified Chinese: 孟学农; traditional Chinese: 孟學農; pinyin: Mèng Xuénóng 1949- ) - vice-governor and acting governor of Shanxi (as of 2007) and disgraced former Mayor of Beijing Municipality
- China Daily article on Penglai Water City
- A Daughter of Han, by Ida Pruitt (who was born in Penglai)
- Brown, Arthur Judson (1904) New forces in old China: an unwelcome but inevitable awakening F.H. Revell Co., New York, Chapter IV OCLC 2177558
- A Daughter of Han, by Ida Pruitt
- "Penglai Destroyed".
- Yap, Joseph P. "Wars With The Xiongnu, A Translation From Zizhi tongjian" Chapters 1 & 5, AuthorHouse (2009) ISBN 978-1-4490-0604-4
- 中国蓬莱 (Penglai, China): official municipal government (in Simplified Chinese)
- Rare Mirage Lasts for 4 Hours off East China Shore
- Cultural and tourist information about Penglai
- Attractions of the Penglai Pavilion area
- Article about a visit to Penglai
- Article describing the Water City