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Qianmen Neighborhood in Beijing

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0021sundial5416bw A collection of old photographs from the 1880's to the 1950's showing buildings along the main streets of the Qianmen district and within the Qianmen / Dashila hutongs 前门胡同,大栅栏胡同.
GuGongDetail5744ew In 2004, the hutongs 胡同, near Qianmen Street, were a neighborhood on the chopping block. The residents had already heard rumors that their homes would be razed, but work had not begun and it was still a vibrant area.
In 2008, the hutongs 胡同 were half way to destruction. One section of the hutong was still occupied but the end was near. The hutongs on the east side of Qianmen East Street and Qianmen Street include Cao Chang Hutong, Dajiang Hutong and the Xiaojiang Hutong.
A few pictures of what was once an old neighborhood to the south and east of Qianmen Street. The modern renovation left no trace of the previous neighborhoods. The area was remade into a major wholesale-retail area. The future of Beijing.
In 2004 the main shopping streets of Qianmen, Qianmen Street 前门大街 and Dazhalan or Dashila Street 大栅栏街 contain many traditional shops as well as interesting architecture. These pictures were taken in 2004, before the whole thing was torn up.
Qianmen is crowned by the Archery or Arrow Tower 箭楼 Jiàn Lóu which provided defense for Zhengyangmen, the southern gate into the Inner City.
Today, Zhengyangmen 正阳门 sits isolated at the south end of Tian'anmen Square. In the past it was part of the fortifications of the Inner City wall surrounding the Imperial Palace (Forbidden City).
Nearby, the Old Zhengyangmen(正阳门) Station which served the Beijing-Shenyang Railway hosts an Internet cafe.
The Qianmen 前门 area is being reconfigured, torn down, and refurbished. Early in 2008, the construction and destruction were well underway. These pictures include both the construction around Qianmen Street and some of the side streets that have, so far, been untrouched.
South of Qianmen Street the traditions of close-knit neighborhoods survive. Open air markets serve as the heart of a neighborhood.
From 2007 to 2008 Qianmen Street 前门大街 and Dashila (Dazhalan) Street 大栅栏街 were torn down, built up, or rennovated. On August 7th, 2008 the new streets opened and the crowds were there to gawk, rather than to buy. The opening had been delayed over a month and many stores were not yet occupied.
These are the same images as in the above series, but we enter at the point where you turn off Qianmen Street to go west on Dashila (Dazhalan) Street 大栅栏街. Dashila Jie is one of the earliest walking streets in Beijing. Many of the traditional stores have been there for over a hundred years.

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Last update: August 2009
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