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Qianmen revives dreams of old Beijing

[ 2009-09-29 14:17]     字号 [] [] []  
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The ancient Qianmen Street, one of the most attractive historical sites in Beijing, finally reopened for business yesterday, after six years of refurbishment.

The new-look Qianmen, the most popular street during the Ming and Qing dynasties, has 103 stores. Eighty-one of the stores are famous Chinese brands including Quanjude (Beijing Roast Duck), Tongrentang drug store, and Neiliansheng cloth shoes.

International fashion brands have also opened stores on the popular commercial street, including Rolex, Zara, and Western food stores like Starbucks and Haagen-Dazs. The street has been modeled on its facade in the 1920s and 30s.

It is the second pedestrian thoroughfare in the Chinese capital, after Wangfujing Street, the downtown shopping district.

Peng Yuezhen, a 78-year-old Beijinger, said Qianmen was a messy market street in her youth.

"I still remember the first time I came here 57 years ago. The street was so narrow that only two or three people could pass. It was a dirt road at that time which made the street really bad especially on rainy days," she said.

Qianmen was once well known for traditional local food. It is said that Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty even once slipped out from the Forbidden City to try ravioli there.

Many tourists from other parts of the country were also at the official launch of Qianmen Street yesterday, and took great interest in its transformation.

For businesses such as Neiliansheng, with a 156-year history of making cloth shoes, having a new store in Qianmen is a fresh start.

"To open a new store in Qianmen is a good chance for the ancient center of Beijing to be back at the center again," said Wang Qiang, assistant manager of Neiliansheng, the old Beijing shoe brand.


1. What famous Chinese brands can be found on the new Qianmen Street?

2. What is the other pedestrian thoroughfare in Beijing?

3. What food did Emperor Qianlong reportedly leave the Forbidden City to eat on Qianmen Street?


1. Quanjude (Beijing Roast Duck), Tongrentang drug store, and Neiliansheng cloth shoes.

2. Wangfujing Street (the downtown shopping district).

3. Ravioli.

(英语点津 许雅宁编辑)

Qianmen revives dreams of old Beijing

About the broadcaster:

Qianmen revives dreams of old Beijing

Nancy Matos is a foreign expert at China Daily Website. Born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, Nancy is a graduate of the Broadcast Journalism and Media program at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. Her journalism career in broadcast and print has taken her around the world from New York to Portugal and now Beijing. Nancy is happy to make the move to China and join the China Daily team.