Over 1200 meters long and with more than 300 shops, Shangxiajiu Shopping Street in Guangzhou of South China's Guangdong Province is a prosperous commercial society. It starts from Shangxiajiu Road in the east, and ends at Dishipu W. Road in the west. With a history of more than one hundred years, it is one of the most bustling commercial streets in China. It is also known as the Xiguan Commercial Corridor and is one of the Top Ten Guangzhou Tourist Attractions.
The traditionally known Xiguan area is Guangzhou's Liwan District. It is named after Lizhi Wan (Litchi Bay) in the district that is depicted by a poet as "Green water in the bay, red litchis on both banks."
Xiguan, as well as its parent district of Liwan, is known as a heaven for gourmets, as the local cuisine combines color, flavor, and taste, presenting a sensory feast of perfect food. There are hundreds of famous foods here including Nanxin double layer milk custard, Ouchengji fresh shrimp wonton and noodle with broth, Dechang salted fried pancake, and Liwan boat porridge. The Cantonese-style moon cake is popular throughout the world with Taotaoju, Quxiang Cake House, Lianxianglou, and Ronghua as its leading producers.
Xiguan is also famous for its historical folk customs: graceful, gentle, and fashionable Xiguan Ladies, painting, and calligraphy as well as Cantonese Opera. The famous Lingnan (south of the five ridges) painting school originated from Xiguan. In addition, both Guangdong music and Guangdong Opera enjoy great popularity among local people here, where there are dozens of private opera troupes, making Xiguan the Hometown of Cantonese Opera.
Top architectural culture in south Guangdong: Chens Academy
The Chens Academy, a key historical site that enjoys national protection, demonstrates the highest achievements of Lingnan architecture. The main halls and corridors are decorated with stone, brick, wood, porcelain, and clay carvings, iron casts, and door and wall paintings. All of these are exquisitely made with skillful techniques.
Guo Moruo, famous Chinese scholor, once praised: "People can produce what nature produces, yet nature can not surpass what people produce."
In the 1920s, international scholars listed the Chens Academy as one of the world's architectural masterpieces. Xiguan civilian houses demonstrate the unique style of the place and houses with a collection of Xiguan folk customs, featuring detailed decoration, exquisite handcrafts, Tang Long doors, and Manchu windows.
A business street with rich Xiguan Culture
Shangxiajiu Street is composed of the unique and ancient architecture of qilou (define what this is) and teahouses, featuring the characteristics of South European and local styles.
Shangxiajiu has a group of old famous stores, such as the Yong'an Department Store, the Guangzhou Garment Store, the Herring Shoes and Hats Store, and the Dalu Clock and Watch Store.
It also has some well renowned restaurants, including the Guangzhou Restaurant, the Taotaoju Restaurant, Wenchang Chicken, and Taotao Ginger and Onion Chicken.
Other items include: the Hualin Furniture and Jade Objects Street; Qingping Road; the Liwan Square, which contains a group of residential apartment buildings; and a large number of stores selling stationary.
More than 1,400 years ago, Dharma, an accomplished Indian monk, came to China as a missionary. His first landing place was at Xiajiu Road (today's Xilaichudi, the first landing place of the Westerners). The monk then constructed the Xilai Temple (today's Hualin Temple), paving the way for the establishment of Chinese Buddhism Zen and the Shaolin Temple at Mount Song.
Shangxiajiu Street opened in 1995 and since then, many top state officials including Jiang Zemin, Li Peng, Zhu Rongji, Ye Xuanping, and Tung Chee-hwa have visited the place. The most splendid moment in history is recorded on the huge board in the middle of the street: In spring of 2001, President Jiang Zemin visited Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Shopping Street.
Shangxiajiu is one of the three major municipal-level shopping areas of Guangzhou. The 800-meter-long street is lined with nearly 250 shops.