Jining (simplified Chinese: 济宁; traditional Chinese: 濟寧; pinyin: Jǐníng) is a prefecture-level city in southwestern Shandong province. It borders Heze to the southwest, Zaozhuang to the southeast, Tai'an to the northeast, and the provinces of Henan and Jiangsu to the northwest and south respectively. Jining, which is located right to the north of the Lake Nanyang (Chinese: 南阳湖; pinyin: Nányáng Hú), is today the northernmost city reachable by navigation on the Grand Canal of China.
Its population was 8,081,905 at the 2010 census, of whom 1,241,012 lived in the built-up (or metro) area made up of Rencheng urban district on 884 km2 (341 sq mi), Yanzhou district not being totally conurbated yet.
The name Jining was first given to the region in the year 1271 during the Song dynasty, although the exact area and type of administrative district it refers to have varied over the centuries. Jining has several distinctive associations in Chinese history and culture, as in antiquity it was the birthplace and home of Confucius, along with many of his more famous disciples, including Mencius. Temples to a number of these philosophers still exist in various parts of the prefecture. Liangshan, a county of Jining, is also famous as the principal setting of the Chinese literary classic, Water Margin.