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Beijing oldest commercial street embraces 4.42 mln visitors since reopening
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16:20, September 09, 2008

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Qianmen Street, Beijing's oldest commercial area, received 4.42 million visitors in its first month since reopening on Aug. 7, the street administrating committee reported.

A random survey of 18,000 visitors was conducted over the past month. In total, 95 percent said they liked the refurbished historical street's colors and style.

Visitors can see traditional Chinese architecture in store fronts adorned with gray facades, elaborate wooden archways, rattle-drum ornaments and bird cage street lamps.

The government started renovating the street in May 2007. The goal was to return it to its former glory of a century ago during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

In total, 52 buildings were renovated. Now, around 100 name-brand stores from all over the country have shops on the pedestrian street.

Renovation of the 840 meter-long street, in the heart of Beijing, took more than one year.

A dozen local businesses, which originated from Qianmen in the past century, such as the Quanjude roast duck restaurant and the Zhangyiyuan teahouse, reopened with the street.

Along with the Great Wall and Tian'anmen Square, tourist guides list Qianmen Street as a top attraction in Beijing.

The street lies on the city's historic central axis just south of Tian'anmen Square and the Forbidden City, the imperial palace from the mid-Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) to the end of the Qing Dynasty.

Qianmen Street took shape about 570 years ago. It reached its heyday in the 1920's and 30's with several restaurants, theaters, silk stores and tea houses. The street was still a famous shopping area even before refurbishment, despite its rundown condition and over-population.

Source: Xinhua

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