NEIGHBOURHOOD MEMORIES OF DASHILAR IN WALKS, MAPS AND PHOTOS

The five walks will cover different aspects of Dashilar’s history — from architecture and art to commerce and finance. Everyday there will be a “guided” live tour in Chinese and English. There will also be information on self-guided walking tours — more information coming soon.

We have designed five walks for Beijing Design Week to share different stories of the amazing neighborhood of Dashilar. Each walking tour will begin and end at our exhibition community space, 144-146 Yangmeizhu Lu.

 

1. THE MONEY TRAIL

How was trade organized during the dynasties and how did it change with the republic of 1912?

Highlights:

  • Find out where you could go to trade gold into newly minted copper coins
  • Hear what the narrowest Hutong of Beijing has to do with the old banking sector
  • Did you know that Dashilar had a whole class of Kungfu skilled bodyguards? They were hired to escort money and valuables around the country. Here more stories during our "Money Trail" walk.

2. MR SHI

Follow the story of a young boy who enters the city of Beijing in 1947 to become a shop clerk, Mr Shis story.

Highlights:

  • Look at republican "Beijng" through the eyes of a 14-years old youngster
  • Listen to stories about beggars, peddlers, heroin addicts, beautiful ladies in the mesmerizing "Dashilar" of the republican era
  • See the only building left standing from 1940s in the Zhushikou area and hear what happened when the Communist Liberation army entered the city and everything changed

3. THE GERMAN ARCHITECT

How did the Qianmen gate become Beijings first piece of landmark architecture?
In 1915 the first stone was taken down from the city wall of Beijing. This was part of a greater redesign of the Qianmen gate by the German architect Curt Rothkegel.

Highlights:

  • Hear about how a German architect get to build the first parliament of China, the first museum inside the Forbidden City and redesign the Qianmen gate
  • Listen to the story how the same architect end up in a Japanese prison
  • And find out how his wife Gertrud manage to re-build the Qianmen gate while her husband was held in captivity
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4. WELCOME TO THE NEIGHBOURHOOD

How did the area just outside the Qianmen gate become the commercial district of Beijing?
This walk will go all the way back to the Yuan dynasty covering more than 800 years and piece together the history of the commercial district of Dashilar.

Highlights:

  • Find out why is the area Dashilar literallycalled "Big Fence"
  • And how it came about that many roads in this area are bend
  • Hear more stories about how Dashilar become a part of the walled Imperial city of Beijing

5. EIGHT GREAT LANES

How did Bada Hutong in Dashilar become the redlight district of the Qing dynasty?
In the Qing dynasty brothels were heavily restricted in the inner city. Because of this brothels would cluster just outside the Qianmen gate in an area commonly referred to as Bada Hutong.

Highlights:

  • Learn to tell what pieces of old architecture were originally related to brothels just from looking at the facade
  • Discover an area of old Beijing where famous prostitutes were once treated like starlets
  • Hear how the first perfume shop and photo studios of Beijing all opened in Bada Hutong and find out how the pleasure girls of Bada Hutong were related to Beijing Opera