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Kuanxiangzi Street and Zhaixiangzi Street

two old streets named Kuanxiangzi Street and Zhaixiangzi Street has become an important tourist destination for a lot of travelers from home and abroad. Apart from several characteristic hostels, a variety of households and old teahouses are another things worthy of visiting.
If you are a traveler roaming about the old streets, you may be engrossed by the leisure life style of the residents there. There is a row of single-story houses along the Kuanxiangzi Street, Where the aged people are usually seen lying on a bamboo-woven chairs, being accompanied with cats.

The lanes mentioned here are the aggregate of traditional folk residence and ancient yards. As early as the reign of Wenhui King of Qin dynasty in 311 B.C, there were Taicheng (larger city) and Shaocheng (lesser city) in Chengdu. And the former looked more impressive than the later. In 1718, Qing dynasty began to muster various personnel and materials in Sichuan to build the Chengdu city,. They also built a Manchu city in western Chengdu for the Manchu army, known as Shaocheng or Zicheng at that time. Manchu officials then lived in the street (the Wide Lane), while Manche soldiers in the lane (the Narrow Lane). There was a clear division of hierarchy and no Han people was allowed access into the inside area. For lack of repairs, buildings in the lanes today are largely dilapidated houses, and what is worse, the increasing immigrants has turned the former quads into mega-yards of medley. The renovated Wide lane and Narrow Lane, however, bring a brand-new sight of metropolis to us after combining historical, cultural, commercial and tourism elements.

In summer they enjoy the cool under the Chinese parasol while in winter they read book outside their houses, bathing the winter sunshine. Since Kuanxiangzi Street and Zhaixiangzi Street are worn out by years without repair, most of buildings there are dilapidated. Moreover, the proliferation of the residents made the former quadrangle become the courtyards occupied by many households. These courtyards built in the Qing Dynast (1644-1911) were the abodes of superior Baqi commanders originally, which are occupied by the most ordinary people in Chengdu. No.19 of Kuanxiangzi Street is a typical building combined western and oriental architectural style. In the center of its courtyard there is small terrace around which was a circle of Chinese style single-story houses lived by servants in the past. And the main body in the courtyard is three-story building with a peak roof like the church while its window frames were carved in Chinese style. Although very old and shabby, there are over ten households living harmoniously in it Mrs. Wang, a resident of this courtyard, has lived here for nearly 20 years and gets along well with all her neighbors. She said because of the reconstruction, all of them will move to their new houses but they all hate to part with each other.

To relive the taste of local life years ago, teahouses and folk arts are readily found in the area while displays of the lifestyle, dialects, food and customs of Chengdu in the past will be reinstated in museums.

The teahouses are scattered in these two streets, whether decorated or simple ones. Qinghe Teahouse located in the No.4 of Zhaixiangzi Street is one of the simple ones. According to its owner, an aged man, he has run this teahouse for nearly ten years. Most of its guests are of his age. They come here not only for drinking tea but also for playing cards or chess, talking what they concern. The price of tea here is not expensive. Jasmine tea is 2 Yuan/cup and local Zhuyeqing is 5Yuan/cup. Baqi Teahouse next to the Dragon Town Backpacsker Hostel always attract some foreigners because of its Chinese style so its menu is translated into English for their convenience. Here is also a gathering place of celebrities from the local painting and calligraphy circles. They would like to discuss their creation thoughts while drinking tea.
The old teahouse and the various households are the important part of the old streets, making more and more photographers, painters and travelers linger on and become a signboard to represent Chengdu's leisure style.


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