<A>Discovering TaiYuan

Written by Dec 31, 2006 05:12
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old streets in TaiYuan

( Preparation -- a detailed map of TaiYuan , a bicycle or a pair of sneakers , If you prefer walking around )

If you have a detailed map of TaiYuan , you may find out some streets or lanes with interesting names . these names provide you a vivid illustration of old TaiYuan city .

1 . Streets named after 门--gate

Some of them named after the main entrance&exit of old TaiYuan city ,(as you know , one of landmarks of ancient China is her majestic city walls ).

For example , 大南门--the main south gate of old TaiYuan city , 小北门--the main north gate of old inner city of TaiYuan . if you could find out main gates of old TaiYuan from the map (usually in four direction--south , north ,east and west ) ,you could draft a rectangular profile of old TaiYuan city (since most ancient Chinese cities are rectangular or square in shape).

And you may find out there was city in the city , 晋王府--Jin Palace , exactly that was the palace of 晋王(1358——1398)--Jin lord (the third son of 朱元璋(1328-1398)--the first empire of Ming Dynasty ) .东华门街 ,西华门街,南华门街--these streets were named after the three main entrance&exit gates of Jin Palace . unfortunately , the palace had ruined in fires (in 1646 AD). nowadays , there are Inhabitant of common folks . only these street's names remind you that there was a palace of Ming Dynasty .

2 . Streets named after 楼--Tower

钟楼街--Bell Tower street, 鼓楼街--Drum Tower street . you can figure out that there used to had a 钟楼--Bell Tower and a 鼓楼--Drum Tower standing in opposite direction . their basic function were time reporting in the dawn and dusk respectively .

3 . Streets named after 市--trading market

You may have heard of names like 桥头街 ,柳巷 , 钟楼街 , they used to be and still are the most prosperous shopping zones in TaiYuan , with incessant streams of people strolling around.

While some old trading market were vanished or relocated along the development of TaiYuan . for example , 铁匠巷--blacksmith lane ,羊市街--sheep trading market street , 柴市街--split dry wood trading market street . all these names remind you how people's life styles have changed .

4 . Street named after 凤凰-- phoenix

What interested me most when I was a teens was a street named 起凤街--phoenix flying off street , " does it mean there have had phoenixes flying off from there ?" I wondered . nowadays , I've realized , because the 贡院--Examination Hall of ShanXi Province ( during feudal period ) were located in there .

The Examination a bit resembles today's national college examination , aimed at selecting talents . the Examination systems of feudal period are very different from today's systems . but either past or present , people who taking Examination , all of them have great expectation about their future . so , this maybe where the name origin from .

5 . Street named after 人物-- people

狄梁公街--named after 狄仁杰(630-700)(a outstanding official of Tang Dynasty) , who was judicious and diligent and fully devoted to his nation . there were many folk's stories about him , a Chinese Sherlock Holmes . a ancestral hall for him was built in that area , so the street was named 狄梁公街 .

What I've written was only brief journey I superficially dabbled through , few of nearly hundred old streets in TaiYuan city . take a map , study it then walking around , dialogues between the past and present of your city are waiting for you to --listening , interpreting, and presenting .

*Link below provides some pictures of old TaiYuan city .

 More Shanxi Travel Reviews
1. <A>JinCi(晋祠) NOVA Nov 6, 2006 09:11
2. <A>A trip to MT.Mian NOVA Oct 3, 2006 05:10
3. <A> A Shanxi girl'f first visitors MEGGLES5 from CN Sep 11, 2005 02:09
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