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Qianmen Street

Sprawled out a stone’s throw south of Tiananmen Square is the famous Qianmen Street, a lively pedestrian street steeped in over 500 years of history. Running north to south from the Zhengyangmen Archery Tower to Tiantan Park, Qianmen has entertained countless generations of shoppers and revelers and was a den of artistic creativity, with Beijing Opera tracing its origins to this site. The street played host to a colorful mix of restaurants, open bazaars and jewelry markets, and the hutongs splitting off the main strip were filled with craftsman workshops and theaters. Originally called Zhengyangmen Street during the Ming and Qing Dynasties, this bustling stretch was finally named Qianmen Street in 1965, and underwent extensive renovation in preparation for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. These days, a glowing array of foreign luxury brands has set up shop along the street alongside the area’s time-honored classics, and in the evening the buildings are illuminated with incandescent strings of lights, silhouetting the nearby cityscape in a luminous yellow glow.

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