Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Qianmen Street (前門大街)

I wasn't familiar with Qianmen but it was a place my mom wanted to go.  As soon as I arrived at the station, I remembered.  "I've been here", I said.  "Yes, you were", my mom answered.  It has been 20 years since I was last in Beijing and I still remembered... amazing!

Qianmen Station @ 2013

Just when you come out of the Qianmen subway station you will see the Zhengyangmen.  In the past, this is the guarded southern entry to the Inner City situated.  The main gateway of the gatehouse is aligned with Yongdingmen Gate to the south, the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong and the Monument to the People's Heroes in Tiananmen Square, the Tiananmen Gate itself, the Meridian Gate, and the imperial throne in the Hall of Supreme Harmony in the Forbidden City, the city's Drum and Bell Towers and the entrance to the Olympic Green in the far north.

Amazing architecture
the modern gate and the old gate
Probably the only thing that hasn't change in centuries,
the gate has a "curfew" :P

Qianmen Street has been a commercial district with a long history.  If you were hoping to find authentic shops from the golden days, you will be disappointed (as I was) since you will only find chains and foreign implants (e.g. Starbucks) here.  Any old shop remaining is now ran like the rest of the enterprise and lost the character which makes it unique. :(

It's been around for over 100 years...
Completely revamped!
Even though it retained the ancient architecture,
it just doesn't feel right to me...
There is even a tram now for those who don't want / like to walk...
Not Starbucks here too -.-|||
even sadder :'(
Chained jewelry shops that taking over all prime locations >.<
One of the remaining old brands famous for its Cloisonné (景泰藍)
The cheap ones I don't like and the nice ones I can't afford :P
Some of this ancient art form has been lost :'(
The most renowned Peking Duck restaurant in Beijing.
Like the other old shops, its been struggling to retain its #1 title.
I have yet to try their Peking Duck as it's difficult to finish a duck when there is only 2 of us.
(plus mom didn't want duck that day...)
Where you will find almost everything you are looking for in Qianmen.
Another state-owned enterprise.  "State of the art" services.
The reason why my mom wants to come to Qianmen... to buy pickled vegetables... -.-|||
like mother, like daughter?  LOL!!!
Everything you can possibly dream of is pickled here.
Some of which I have no clue what it is,
and some I don't even have the guts to try.

Don't expect customer service here though.
You think you could at least get a sample right, hell no!
You tell them what you want, even though you have no clue what you want.
You pay and you leave.
LOVE this building!
A glamourous building caught my eyes...
I thought it was either a bank or a pawn shop in the beginning...
It was a clothing store!!!
It used to sell high end fashion to the palace and aristocrats...
It's also one of the "八大祥"
Shoes on sale.  My mom was a happy and satisfied shopper here.
A shoe store that my mom went crazy in...
Shoes here are cheap and comfy.
She came out with 2 pairs.
In fact, she bought 3 pairs of shoes just that afternoon!
While my mom left Qianmen a happy shopper,
a kid was drooling over a toy his mom probably won't get for him...


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