Friday, April 29, 2022

Hangzhou: Qing He Fang Street and Southern Song Dynasty Charm

Hangzhou was once the capital of China's Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279) and has preserved some of the splendor of this time in historic districts and streets such as Qing He Fang Street, which served as the center of the Song Dynasty's political, cultural, and commercial activities and has been almost completely preserved.  Today, its century-old storefronts sell everything from tea, medicine, food and drink to arts and crafts.

The entrance to Qing HeFang Street is off busy commercial Zhongshan Road, leading south from Wulin Square.

 Heading south from the Zhejiang Exhibition Hall in Wulin Square

Whimsical art on Zhongshan Road

As I enter Qing He Fang street, I go back in time over 1000 years, and walk down the street experiencing life as it was in the those times.

 Qing He Fang Street

Shops are selling products manufactured in the area:  folded-paper painted fans, umbrellas, silks, and teas.

 Fan, umbrella, silk, tea shops

Other shops are selling foods made in the old way and I watch two men pound out bread with large wooden mallets.  Everyone stops to watch this, and a few buy even buy some bread.

Pounding out bread by hand

Alleys of Song He Fang street offer other small shops and food courts for dining pleasure. 

Food courts and stands

At the end of the street are beautiful pedestrian paths and more fine-silk shops.  The sale counter in one shop is selling silk products for 10 RMB ($1.60 USD).

 More fine silk shops

 Beautiful pedestrian walkways

A few blocks later, I am reminded that I am in the middle of a serious city as I quickly emerge back in the 21st century.

Back in the real city

I continue on my way back toward Wulin Square, and along the Grand Canal (this portion of the canal was built in 1247 by order of Emperor Chunyou).

 Continuing along the Grand Canal toward Wulin Square

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