Beihai Old Street
Beihai Old Street was built in 1883 with a history of over 100 years; it's 1.44 kilometers in length and is 9 meters wide. Overhang-style buildings, which combine Western and Chinese elements, line the street. Those buildings are not just copies of Western architecture but are the perfect combination of Western and Oriental culture.
Old Beihai city expands from the northern harbor in all directions. Shaji Road, Xijing Street, Zhuhai Road and Zhongshan Road run through the city. However, owing to its ancient history, Old Street is the only road which can completely reflect Beihai's developmental history.
Buildings in Old Street have their own unique styles. Meanwhile, Old Street not only absorbs features from other areas, such as Guangzhou, Hunan, Hainan and Jiangxi, but also combines them with Western architectural arts. The buildings are constructed with the front room near the street, as is the store, and the remaining rooms to the rear, as the residence has a pretty arched door and exquisite Western decorations. Most of the windows near the street are arched and the exteriors of these arched windows and window posts are decorated with smooth and exquisite carved lines. Various types of ornaments and embossed sculptures hang on the walls of two sets of long gorgeous corridors. The square pillars of the overhang-style buildings are heavy, large and thick, as buildings would have been in Roman times.
History of Old Street
In the middle of the 19th century, a cluster of Western buildings were built gradually at Beihai. Before 1927, Old Street used to be the most prosperous commercial street. Various stores were standing there. The stores in the middle of the street mainly sold silks and satins from Suzhou and Hangzhou. Eastern stores ran their seafood businesses selling squid, sand worms, shrimp and dried fish. Due to the west of the street bordering the harbor, all of the stores at that district sold fishing gear, such as rope, fishing nets, fishing hooks, wind canvas and boat nails. Over half a century later, Old Street lost its flourish. Apart from a few stores still selling fishing equipment, the rest became residences. Although the buildings gradually became old and shabby with time, almost all of the buildings were reserved intact. Additionally, historians and architects regard this street as a modern architectural yearbook.
Don't visit Old Street during China National Day. During that time, due to Beihai's pleasant weather and environment, it's a popular destination and a good time for tourists to visit, which causes a shortage of hotel rooms and crowded transportation. Prices will also increase. By the way, you need at least 30 minutes for a visit.
Location: Zhuhai Road, Haicheng District, Beihai, Guangxi
Transportation: take bus 2 or a taxi directly there
I updated this article on September 30, 2013
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