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[Travel Guide] [China] Top 10 historical streets in China [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2012-1-6 15:25:06 |Display all floors
For hundreds of years, China's ancient streets have recorded the country's history and culture against a backdrop of change and development. The streets have retained the layout, architecture, and even the lifestyles of ancient times.

The following are the top 10 historical streets in China which contain the most vivid and richest memories.

Barkhor Street in Lhasa

Located in the old area of Lhasa City, Tibet, Barkhor Street is a well-preserved circular street area surrounding Jokhang Temple. Its religious and cultural flavor means that it is a popular destination for both pilgrims and locals. The area is also a business center.

With a history of over 1,300 years, the street was built and developed in concert with Jokhang Temple. Jokhang Temple was built in 647 by the Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo (617 - 650), and it quickly attracted thousands of Buddhist pilgrims. The large number of pilgrims gradually wore a path, which was the origin of Barkhor Street. To this day, many pilgrims can be seen there holding prayer wheels and walking clockwise around the temple from dawn to dusk.

Composed of 35 major or small streets, the street has a circumference of roughly 1,000 meters. It is paved with hand-polished stone boards, and traditional Tibetan buildings stand on both sides, giving a traditional flavor of Lhasa. Despite its relative narrowness, the street accommodates thousands of tourists every day and has become a symbol of Lhasa.

Numerous shops stand on both sides of the street and thousands of vendors can be found on every corner, selling religious articles, traditional Tibetan clothes, Tibetan knives, 'Thangka' (Tibetan scroll painting) and other souvenirs.

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Post time 2012-1-6 15:25:32 |Display all floors
Qilou Old Street in Haikou

Located in Haikou, Hainan Province, Qilou Old Street features a stylish fusion of European and Asian architecture, as well as Indian and Arabic influences. Qilou, or Chinese arcade houses form the city's most exotic landscapes, and they can principally be found on Bo'ai Street, Zhongshan Street, Xinhua North Street, Deshengsha Street and Jiefang Street.

With its origins dating back around 2,000 years to ancient Greece, arcade architecture was introduced to Haikou by overseas Chinese merchants from 1820-1840. Standing between two and four stories in height, a Qilou has its ground floor set back halfway into the building so that it can be used as a storefront to take shelter from rain and sunlight. The upper floors serve as the living quarters, and extend over the pavement supported by columns. The exquisite carvings and decorations on the handrails, door frames and window frames are in the Baroque style.

In total, there are more than 200 Qilou buildings in the street, including 39 by Zhongshan Street. The oldest building, Sipai Building, dates back some 600 years to the Southern Song Dynasty.

Historically, the street has housed consulates, churches post offices, banks and chambers of commerce belonging to 13 different countries. Today, it remains Haikou's business center whilst also giving visitors a taste of traditional Haikou life.

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Post time 2012-1-6 15:25:53 |Display all floors
Zhaode Ancient Street in Qingzhou

Zhaode Ancient Street is located in the old town of Qingzhou, the heart of Shandong Province. The Hui ethnic group inhabits the area and gives it a distinct cultural feel.

Qingzhou's location makes it a natural transport hub, with a history of 2,200 years. During the Yuan Dynasty, about 700 years ago, a mass migration of Hui merchants arrived and settled in Qingzhou. The area where they formed their own distinct community was known as Zhaode Ancient Street.

Named after Zhaode Pagoda, Zhaode Street consists of a number of ancient streets, which are all connected, forming a "five-kilometer" street. The street, with its many shops, workshops, merchants and visitors, was extremely prosperous during the Ming and Qing dynasties. Today, the street retains its original layout, and some of the old buildings still stand. The old shops, with their black tiles, antiquated window frames, old-style wood doors, pillars and beams are a graphic illustration of the street's long and rich history.

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Post time 2012-1-6 15:26:18 |Display all floors
Badaguan (Eight Passes) in Qingdao

Badaguan, or Eight Passes, is a historical street district in the southeast of Qingdao, Shandong Province. The street is famous for combining the architectural styles of different countries.

The name Eight Passes comes from eight roads named after the eight strategic passes of China's famous passes, which are Jiayuguan, Juyongguan, Wushengguan, Ningwuguan, Shanhaiguan, Shaoguan, Zhengyangguan, and Zijingguan. There are now 10 roads in the district which crisscross to form a scenic area.

The area is home to some unique flora and fauna, including many varieties of trees, including peach trees, pine trees and gingko trees. In addition, there are more than 200 villas in the exotic architectural style of more than 20 countries, including Russia, UK, US, France, Germany, Denmark, Greece, Spain, Switzerland and Japan. Before the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, the area was home to many foreign consulates, and, because of the unique and varied architectural styles in the area, Badaguan is known as the "World Architecture Museum." It is also called "little Switzerland."

Badaguan remains special to this day for its unique blend of Eastern and Western influences. As a symbol of Qingdao, Badaguan has proved attractive for many film producers and directors, as well as visitors from all over the world.

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Post time 2012-1-6 15:26:43 |Display all floors
Three Lanes and Seven Alleys in Fuzhou

Located in the downtown area of Fuzhou, Fujian Province, the Three Lanes and Seven Alleys (Sanfang-Qixiang) is a street district with a cluster of ancient residential buildings and is the largest well-preserved historical heritage site in China, covering an area of 40 hectares.

Divided by Southern Street as the central axis, the original three lanes were in the west and the seven alleys are in the east. The layout dates back to the Tang (618-907) and Song (960-1279) dynasties, almost 1,000 years ago. The street is unique as the only existing street district in China bearing this pattern. Running from north to south, the lanes refer to Wenru Lane, Yijin Lane, and Guanglu Lane, and the alleys refer to Huang Alley, Gong Alley, Yangqiao Alley, Langguan Alley, Ta Alley, Anmin Alley, and Jipi Alley.

The lanes and alleys were home to hundreds of houses built by built by wealthy people in the Ming and Qing dynasties, and 159 buildings remain well-preserved to this day. AS a result, the district has been nicknamed "an architecture museum of the Ming and Qing dynasties." The houses were built with ancient, huge bricks and decorated with seashells, which were easy to get because of Fuzhou's coastal location. The ornaments, wood carvings and stone carvings all testify to the buildings' past glories. .

The area has been home to many famous people, including politicians, military leaders, writers and poets. Some of their descendants still live there now, keeping the living style of their ancestors. Jiqi Alley, Yangqiao Alley and Guanglu Lane have now been reconstructed into driveways, and only two lanes and five alleys remain.

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Post time 2012-1-6 15:27:10 |Display all floors
Tunxi Old Street in Huangshan

With a centuries-old history dating back to the Song Dynasty (960-1279), Tunxi Old Street is one of China's best-preserved commercial streets and features the architectural styles of the Southern Song, Ming (1368-1644) and Qing Dynasties (1644-1911).

Located in the center of Tunxi District, Huangshan City, Anhui Province, the street, paved with maroon flagstones, has a total length of 1,273 meters, of which 895 meters is the pedestrian commercial street. Two and three-storey shops line both sides of the streets and feature the local Anhui style of architecture including a stone base, brick construction and tile roof. The buildings typically house shops at the front, with houses and workshops being located at the rear. The street developed into the distribution center for materials in and out of Anhui in the Qing Dynasty.

Visitors today can still find many old and famous shops on Tunxi Old Street, such as Tongderen, a TCM shop with a history of more than 120 years. The area is a distribution point for the world-famous Qimen black tea and Tunxi green tea, and there are many teahouses, wine shops, bookshops and ink shops along the street.

The street has been dubbed "Riverside Scene at Qingming Festival", a famous painting which describes the economic activities in ancient China. It attracts six million foreign and domestic visitors every year, and is also a popular site for shooting films and TV series.

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Post time 2012-1-6 15:27:35 |Display all floors
Pingjiang Street in Suzhou

Located in downtown Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, Pingjiang Street is a historical road running alongside the Pingjiang River. The street has preserved the city's history and unique features.

There is evidence that the street existed as early as the Song Dynasty(960-1279), and it appears on Suzhou's earliest map "Pingjiang Map" as one of the city's main streets of the period. The street runs parallel with the Pingjiang River and has a total length of 1,606 meters. Neither the street nor the river are particularly wide, and can, as a result, only be comfortably navigated by rickshaws and rowing boats respectively. The houses alongside the street and river retain the typical style of ancient Suzhou, with their white walls, black tiles and simple, unpretentious air. A number of water streets near Pingjiang Street have been preserved, especially in the area to the east of the street. People still live in the houses along these streets, maintaining their traditional lifestyle.

For many centuries, the street has been the center of much of Suzhou's cultural life. People may take a leisurely look at the titles on display in a bookstore, or take a rest in a teahouse while viewing a Pingtan performance, which involves telling folk tales and stories as well as singing ballads in the local dialect.

The flowing water, flagstone walkway, white-and-black houses, small stone bridges, verdant trees and colorful flowers evoke the scenery of a traditional scroll painting and convey how the ancient water town of Suzhou would have looked 800 years ago. Only one street away from Guanqian Street, the busiest business center in the city, Pingjia Street is just a short distance from Guanqian Street, the city's busiest business center, and is an oasis of ancient calm next to the hustle and bustle of modern business activity.

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