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Wandering Old Streets in China

18 Jul 2014

A Chinese saying goes like that, “An old man is like a treasure of a family.” Similarly, an old street is far more than a bustling shopping street but sediment of time and history, as well as a vivid representation of a city’s history, culture and customs.

As a business card of a city, an old street gradually enriches your understanding to the city when you are wandering old streets. Once stepping into an old street, you will feel like walking into another fancy world and hardly bear to leave.


Harbin Central Avenue


Built in 1898, the Central Avenue has becomes an epitome of Harbin, which was deeply influenced by European culture. Here Chinese-style flagstone road and European architectures exist side by side. The European lifestyle of Harbiners adds more historical charm to the old street. Every year, from December to January, covered up by white snow, it will become an unique landscape painting.


Though the Central Avenue is less than 1500 m long, the buildings in the street were designed in four most influential architecture styles. Situated at the south end, Saint Sophia Cathedral is an Byzantine architecture. Education Bookstore that was once Songpu Corpration built in 1909 is the biggest representative of Baroque architecture in Harbin.


Inside these delicate buildings, there are as many restaurants of different flavors. You could have a taste of Cantonese cuisine, Sichuan cuisine, Japanese cuisine, Korean cuisine and others, without traveling through China. Among them, Russian cuisine is the most favorable one. Russian roast bunch in Mermaid Rastaurant is worth a try. 


Guanqian Street in Suzhou


Much similar to Confucius Temple of Nanjing and Chenghuang Temple of Shanghai, Guanqian Street is wonderful place in a collection of business, entertainment, catering and culture. “Wandering Guanqian Street” is also an after-dinner activity of local people. 


Guanqian Street is named for Temple of Mystery that is called “Xuan Miao Guan” in Chinese, with a history of more than 3,000 years. Another famous site in the street is Hengfu Jewelry. It is a quaint building, built in Qing dynasty, with six meter high brick wall and five shop fronts. Raising your head, you will see two golden characters “Hengfu” in brick carving.


Coming to Guanqian Street, you’d better have a taste of Lugaojian Pig Trotter, which is thin tender, made of its local pig. Situated at the east gate is Huantianyuan Cake Shop whose products are famous for a subtle and delicate flavor. The long established Songhelou is well welcomed by locals and foreigners. The most favorable dishes are squirrel-shaped Mandarin fish, snow crab bucket and Qing Liu Da Yu.


Foshan Lingnan New World


Strolling in the zigzag alleys or streets, you will see followers and trees here and there. Blossoming crape myrtle leaves nuzzled up against the old brick wall as if they were telling a story of the city. 


There are in total 22 heritage buildings and a variety of historical buildings. Here new and old buildings exist side by side and Lingnan architecture and modern Western architectures are perfectly combined together. You could not only have a look of local brick wall and flower windows but also springs and arcades commonly seen in Western architectures.     


All sorts of featured shops are along streets. When you feel tired you can stop anywhere to have a rest. Here you could also taste some specialties in these featured restaurants such as Big Tree bar and Summer House. 


Shanghai Old Street


Traditionally, the part of Fangbang Road near Old City Temple in Shanghai is called Shanghai Old Street. It is about 800 meters long. At the sides of the street, there gather more than 200 stores of ceramic products, embroidery and so on. These stores are decorated like ancient pubs, with red lanterns hanging under eaves and yellow banners waving at the door.


The popular star---Zhou Xuan, who once gained wide popularity in Shanghai, now is still the most favorable person. Wandering in Shanghai Old Street, you could hear her sweet songs played by stores along the street.


If you would like to have a taste of Shanghai dishes, 100-year-old restaurants will be the best choice. Shanghai Teahouse, Xishi Toufu, Deshun Taven have a history of over 100 years. Snack stalls in the street deserve to have a try where you could truly experience local culture.


Beihai Old Street


Beihai Old Street, also called Zhuhai Road, was built in 1883. Until now, it has a history of 131 years. It extends for some 1.44 km, with 9 meters in breadth. The buildings along the street are all arcade architectures with a combination of Chinese and Western features. Since Beihai was opened up for external trade port in 1876, the Western arcade architecture has been introduced to Old Street.


In Zhuhaizhong Road, there is a curving alley called Jiuquxiang where every three or five steps you need to turn off. Sometimes, you will walk into a narrow street that could only enable one person to pass through. Walking in the alleys will surely leave incredible experience on you.


At Beihai Old Street, you could easily find a modern cafe and bar of any type whose interior decoration are in accordance with these arcade architectures.












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