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Home Travel in Beijing Nan Luogu Xiang-New Life of Old Beijing
Nan Luogu Xiang-New Life of Old Beijing
Travel in Beijing

Nan Luogu Xiang

Nan Luo gu Xiang (nán luó gǔ xiàng 南锣鼓巷 South Gong and Drum Lane) is a place where you can see creative ways both to change and to preserve traditions.Walking into the lane, you will forget about the hustle and bustle outside immediately. The long, narrow lane is shaded by luxuriant tree under the early afternoon sun, where rows of Siheyuan, or quadrangle houses built in traditional Beijing local style, stretch far on both sides of the lane. At the entry of the lane, some old ladies are chatting with each other, while not far away some tourists are sitting here and there around some wooden tables in front of a bar house, bathing in the afternoon sun. Nan Luogu Xiang area was built in the Yuan Dynasty with more than 700 years of history. This area is very central, just to the north of the Forbidden City and on the east side of the axial line that runs through Beijing from North to South.

 

The area has the oldest, largest and best preserved traditional courtyards that Beijing can offer. As a result, the entire Nan Luogu Xiang area is included in the Cultural Heritage Preservation Program approved by the Beijing municipal government.


altIn recent years, over 30 bars and restaurants, and numerous fashion shops have gradually turned Nan Luogu Xiang into a trendy area for both daytime sightseeing and funky nightlife.

For Zhang Qiaowen, a Canadian Chinese, his home is not far from here. As he is now studying religion at Peking University, he visited the lane frequently. The bar he went in very often was called the “Xique Café”, or magpie café, where he normally spent half a day, sipping tea while surfing on the Internet. “I like to come here because it’s quiet and everything is easy to get,” said Zhang. To him, the tranquil atmosphere here makes the lane quite different from most other bar streets which are usually noisy. Also, he said “the Siheyuan here is very well protected and displays the Old Beijing’s city feature.”

A girl who has just finished her postgraduate examination came here to relax herself. “It is so different here from the street outside. When everybody in the street seems to be in a hurry, you will calm down once you enter this lane. It is indeed a good place to relax,” she said.

Nan Luogu XiangAt the Shalou Café, old-style furniture is neatly placed in the room. “Most of our customers are young people,” said the café manager, “they mostly work in Beijing and would like to come here at night for relaxation.” He said the bars and cafés inside the lane were mingled with residential houses. For residents living here, they don’t like the lane to be too noisy, and for most tourists, they come here to enjoy the quietness of the lane. Therefore most bars here are usually quiet.

The Guoke Bar, which is located at the southern end of the lane, has been running business here for nearly seven years and has become a must for backpackers from home and abroad. A waitress said the bar received some 150 guests every day on average. Manager Haiyan said she had chosen the place to open her business because she liked the family atmosphere here.

As most bar streets in other places become more and more commercialized, people found bars and life here remain the same as they came before. Visitors cherish the cultural atmosphere here. They use their cameras, eyes, ears, mouths and minds to catch the spirit of traditional Beijing culture.


Route: Bus 13,118,823,850 and get off at Nanluogu Xiang (nán luó gǔ xiàng 南锣鼓巷) station.

Nanluogu Xiang

 

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