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Top historical streets in China

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 historical streets in China which contain the most vivid and richest memories.

Barkhor Street in Lhasa

Located in the old area of Lhasa City (a destination for China travel deals), 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.

Qilou Old Street in Haikou

Located in Haikou, Hainan Province which is a famous tourist destination for popular China tours, 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.

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. So the street should be contained in your China tour packages.

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.

Badaguan (Eight Passes) in Qingdao

Lying between TaiPing and HuiQuan Cape, Badaguan Scenic Area faces the rippling tides of TaiPing Bay to the south and the sands of Bathing Beach No. 3 to the east. Scattered among the coastal flora and fauna, along with many varieties of trees such as peaches, crab-apples, pine trees and ginkgoes, are more than 200 villas of exotic styles. Also known as, the World Architecture Museum, Badaguan due to the large numbers of European villas that criss-cross this scenic area is sometimes referred to as "little Switzerland."

This scenic area was once a place where people from more than twenty countries, such as Germany, the United States of America, Russia, Britain, France, Denmark, Greece, Spain, Switzerland, Japan and etc., constructed buildings in each of their unique national styles.

After the People's Liberation in 1949, the government repaired the entire area and its buildings, symbolizing Badaguan's significance as one of the most important sanitaria in China. Many leaders of the Chinese Communist Party and foreign friends of China have stayed in Badaguan for rehabilitation or simply, for pleasure.

Badaguan Scenic Area, built in 1931, covers 67 acres consisting of ten roads that are each lined with distinct species of trees and flowers. Badaguan, also known as China's "World Architecture Museum," is home to more than 200 European style villas built in the early 1900's.

Eight of the roads are named after the 8 strategic passes of the famous Great Wall (a must-see for top 10 China tours) in China: Jiayuguan, Juyongguan, Wushengguan, Ningwuguan, Shanhaiguan, Shaoguan, Zhengyangguan, & Zijingguan -- giving the area its name "Badaguan" which translates to "Eight Passes."

The flowers bloom in different seasons which give this area its other beautiful name, "Hua Jie", which means a "flowery area". Each street is lined with its own distinct species of tree giving the area an annual spectacular Autumn show of colors.

Bus stop (WuShengGuan): #26, #31, #202, #206, #223, #225, #228, #316, #321, #604, #801.

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.

All the above-mentioned make contribution to China tourism.

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