No Beijing Travel is complete without visiting Wangfujing Street (王俯井大街) and its vicinity. “Wangfujing” literally means “prince residence well”. There used to live 10 princes in these area in Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644), hence the street name “Wangfu Street”. Later in Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1911), a sweet water well was dug here, then the street was renamed “Wangfujing”, which has been kept till today.
Wangfujing Street is 1600 meters in length, running from south to north street. Now the part of it has been transformed into a pedestrian street since 1999. Its south starting point between Oriental Plaza and Beijing Hotel, and ends at National Art Museum of China in the north. Its 810-mter pedestrian section starts from south and finshes at the crossroad. East of the crossroad is Jinyu Hutong and west Donganmen Street ( where the Donganmen Night Food Market is located ).
The 810-meter walking street is home to several big shopping malls, such Oriental Plaza, Beijing Department Store, Sun Dong An Plaza, the New China Woman and Children Department etc.. It also has two large bookstores – the Wangfujing Xinhua Bookstore and the Beijing Foreign Languages Bookstore.
The 810-meter walking street fuses effortlessly the time-honored traditional stores and modern shopping malls and boutiques. It boasts some time-horned stores like Tongshenghe shoe shore, Shengxifu hat shop, and Wuyutai tea house etc.
To the east of the crossroad at 810 meters from its south of Wangfujing Street is Jinyu Hutong (Golden Fish Alley) which houses the deluxe Peninsula Palace Hotel and Novotel Peace Hotel.
To the west of the crossroad is Donganmen Street, which accommodates the famous Donganmen Night Snack Street ( or commonly called Wangfujing Night Food Market). Every night people bustle around to experience the local snack tastes.
Walking further north, you will see the Wangfujing Cathedral, or locally referred as Dongtang (the East Cathedral). This small church was first built in 1653 by the Jesuit Father Lodovico Buglio. It was rebuilt in 1904 as a Romanesque cathedral, with strong pilasters with one high and two low vaults showing a grand architectural style. It was opened to the public afetr the restoration in 1980.
Wangfujing Street is at its best after dark with neon advertising signs shining. The neons can now be compared to those of any big city in the world and are very popular with the visitors. If you like to enjoy Beijing Night Tour, Wangfujing Street is not to be missed.
Wangfujig Street is easily accessible through taking Subway Line 1 and getting off at Wangfujing Station. Benches and bars are available, making it easy for you to have a short break if you feel tired.
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