Jinan, in East China's Shandong province, will invest 1.5 billion yuan ($245 million) to rebuild its train station, including restoring the German-built station dismantled 21 years ago, according to Jinan Old City Development Investment Group.
The Tianjin-Pukou Railway Jinan Station, designed by German architect Hermann Fischer in 1904 and completed in 1911, was the largest station in Asia during the colonial rule of Germany in China. It was demolished by the local railway authority amid opposition from scholars as passenger flow went beyond its capacity in the 1990s, according to Oriental Morning Post.
The old station, once a renowned German-style landmark in the Far East, is regarded as a witness to modern Chinese history. "It has witnessed the collapse of Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression (1937-1945) and the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949," said Li Ming, head of the Jinan Archaeology Institute.
The demolition sparked strong oppositions from experts and scholars.
"The station is a symbol of colonialism and makes Chinese people think of their oppressed times," a Jinan official said. "And there was the ideological trend of pursuing modern construction."
In 2010, 11 deputies of the Jinan Municipal People's Congress proposed a bill to rebuild the old station. Over the next few years, cries for restoration drew more support.
"It was another stupid decision," said a professor at Shandong Architecture University, who declined to give his name. "It would not return to its original form as the material and technology have changed, and the drawings are missing."