Chengdu is a city brimming with a strong leisurely ambience. Jinli Street, located to the east of the Wuhou Memorial Temple of Chengdu (the most famous Three Kingdoms period (220 - 280) relic museum in China) is particularly representative of this city. It is recorded that as early as the Qin Dynasty (221 BC - 206 BC), Jinli Street was the most famous place for baldachin - a rich, ornate cloth. And it was one of the busiest commercial streets during the Shu Kingdom (221-263). Hence, it is known as 'First Street of the Shu Kingdom'. In order to reclaim the street's prosperity of former days, it was restored with contributions from the Wuhou Memorial Temple and was opened to public in October of 2004. Since then, visitors from all over China and abroad gather in this ancient street to relax, admire the traditional-style buildings, and taste some local snacks.The whole length of the street is about 350 meters. When walking in this street you can feel as if you were back to the old time in Chengdu.
Dating back to the Qin Dynasty (221BC-206BC), Jinli Street in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, was in ancient times one of the busiest of commercial boulevards of the Kingdom of Shu, during the Three Kingdoms Period (220-280). It is thus known as the "First Street of the Shu Kingdom." At the time of the Three Kingdoms period, the production of the famous Shu brocade (a rich silk fabric with raised patterns in gold and silver) was centralized at the southern bank of the Jinjiang River in Chengdu, adjacent to the historical Temple of Marquis Wu. The area was originally known as Jinguan or Jinli, and during the later Tang and Song Dynasties, Jinli became another name for the city of Chengdu.
Chengdu was the capital city of the Kingdom of Shu (221-263). Due largely to the leadership of Zhuge Liang (an outstanding politician and strategist) and other personages of the Kingdom of Shu, the "Sanguo" (Three Kingdoms) culture took strong root here. And here still exists some of the richest of the remains of the Three Kingdoms Period.
The geography of the area is relatively simple. Adjacent to Jinli Street is the ancient Temple of Marquis Wu, while the Jinjiang River lies to the north and the Rainbow Bridge to the east. By combining the spirits and styles of the Qin, Han, Ming and Qing Dynasties and the Three Kingdoms period, along with the folk customs of western Sichuan, Jinli has enriched the "Sanguo" culture. Renovation of the street was completed at the end of 2004.Visitors from all over China and abroad gathered here in this ancient street to relax, take in the surroundings, and perhaps taste some of the local specialties. It is said that citizens of Chengdu are particularly fond of dining and socializing, and perhaps this is what helps to create the city's leisurely ambience.Chengdu has been newly designated as one of the ten most livable cities in China.
Outside the stores, the stalls are busier but equally attractive. You can find folk artisans putting on funny shows such as a shadow puppetry show or a hand puppet show. Some traditional arts such as paper-cut and clay figurines made by the skilled craftsmen are sold here. They are so delicate and life-like that you won't be able to resist buying some. From these artworks you will get a taste of the true life of the local people and find some reminders of China's past in the modern city.
Over 350 meters in length, Jinli Old Street is the concentration of Chengdu city life. Serried along the two sides of Jinli Old Street are buildings built in the style of The Qing Dynasty. The Shop keepers, waiters and waitresses are all dressed in traditional style clothing, making this street feel to visitors as though they have stepped back in time.
Being one of the oldest commercial streets in China, Jinli Old Street is not only a wonderful reminder China's past, but also a great place for people to fully appreciate Sichuan's customs, and folk arts. Visitors can try the indigenous foods and snacks, while shopping for the showcased handicrafts that Sichuan Province is famous for: paper-cutting, clay figurines, and Shu embroidery. In the middle of Jinli Old Street, a wooden stage has been constructed. Specially designed to showcase local performances loved for centuries in Chengdu, this stage is a popular meeting place for locals. Some of the most popular performances are local shadow puppet, and the local Sichuan Opera performances. They are performed just as they have been for centuries.
For people interested in Chinese food, and Sichuan's local snacks, Jinli Old Street is the perfect place to sample them. Famous local dishes such as Kung Pao Chicken (stir-fried chicken with chili and peanuts), Mapo Tofu (stir-fried Tofu in hot sauce), and the other quintessential dishes can be found here. Sichuan foods are famous for their spiciness, but they are not just spicy, they are delicious and addicting. Very few people who visit this part of China leave without becoming hooked. Along with local foods, there are many bars, cafes and teahouses located along Jinli Old Street offering the perfect combination of ancient and modern cultures. The majority of these places are furnished with traditional details and furniture, yet with all of the modern conveniences. These shops are the perfect place to take a break, rest, and soak up the local culture.
In the middle of the street, there is a wooden stage which looks like an ancient pavilion. It is used from time to time for performing classic Sichuan Operas. You can enjoy folk music along with the actor's beautiful, quick costume and make-up changes. The actors' perfect performances will wow you.
Despite the traditional atmosphere in Jinli Street, you can also sense something fashionable. There are many cafes and barrooms here - including Starbucks. They blend modern elements into the old town harmoniously. It's enjoyable to sit on a wooden bench with a cup of delicious coffee.
Successful in attracting tourists from home and abroad every year, Jinli Old Street's reputation is spreading all over the world. Reflecting both the diversity and integration of Sichuan custom and folklore, Jinli Old Street is a must-see location in not only Chengdu, but China as a whole.
Activities 1. On the ancient stages, the classic plays are put on regularly. 2. In the roadside stands, the performances of folk artisans are on (including sugar painting, shaping clay figurines, paper-cut, puppet shadow shows and so on). 3. On the Jinli Snack Street, visitors can have a taste of all kinds of local delicacies. 4. There is a show of local wedding, which tourists can take part in. Couples even can hold their wedding in Jinli, having a wedding that can not forget for the whole life. 5. Shows of folk music, plays and local costumes are held continuously all the year round. 6. When traditional festivals come, thematic activities will be held in communities. The activities can be the lantern fair in the Lantern Festival, snack festival, Zongzi Eating Contest in the Dragon Boat Festival, activities during Chinese Valentines' Day, appreciating the moon together in the Mid-Autumn Day and so on.