Qinghefang Ancient Street (qīng hé fāng gǔ jiē 清河坊古街) is one of the oldest streets and is the only well persevered antique historic street in Hangzhou City (háng zhōu shì 杭州市). It derived from the Southern Song Dynasty (nán sòng 南宋) and became prosperous in the Qing Dynasty (qīng cháo 清朝). The buildings in the street were mostly constructed during the Ming (míng cháo 明朝) and Qing dynasties. After Hangzhou had been chosen as the capital of Southern Song Dynasty, Qinghefang witness many luxurious residence and prosperous restaurants, teahouse and stores. The street collects the business culture, construction culture and folk art culture, famous people, old alleys, ancient houses and renowned store accumulating rich historical and cultural heritage. It is the epitome of Hanghzou. The street is located close to Wu Hill (wú shān 吴山) and the West Lake (xī hú 西湖).
Many famous century-old shops gather in this ancient street, such as Wang Xing Ji Fan Store (wáng xīng jì shàn zhuāng 王星记扇庄), Zhang Xiao Quan Scissors (zhāng xiǎo quán jiǎn dāo 张小泉剪刀), Wanlong Ham Stack (wàn lóng huǒ tuǐ zhàn 万隆火腿栈), Hu Qing Yu Hall (hú qìng yú táng 胡庆余堂), Bao He Hall (bǎo hé táng 保和堂), Zhuang Yuan House (zhuàng yuán guǎn 状元馆), Wang Run Xing (wáng rùn xìng 王润兴), Yi Yuan Jin Dian (yì yuán jīn diàn 义源金店), Jing Yang Guan (jǐng yáng guān 景阳观), Sheep Soup Restaurant (yáng tāng fàn diàn 羊汤饭店) etc..
Hu Qing Yu Hall
Hu Qing Yu Hall was built by the businessman Hu Xueyan (hú xuě yán 胡雪岩) in the Tongzhi (tóng zhì 同治) 13th year of the Qing Dynasty (1874). It is based on the pharmacopoeia of imperial family in Song Dynasty (sòng cháo 宋朝), it chooses the proved recipe in dynasties to triturate many famous medicines. Now people trust the medicines very much. Together with Tong Ren Tang (tóng rén táng 同仁堂) in Beijing, the two were regarded as the most famous pharmacy in south and north.
Bao He Hall
Bao He Hall is also a famous pharmacy in Qinghefang, it provides treats and medicines to poor people for free. There is legend that Xu Xian (xǔ xiān 许仙) was working as a apprentice in Bao He Hall when he met Lady White (bái niáng zǐ 白娘子). Now the statue of Xu Xian is still in front of the hall. During the waning days of the Qing dynasty, Bao He Hall went to recession as the Hu Qing Yu Hall increasingly became flourishing.
Zhang Xiaoquan Scissors
Zhang Xiaoquan Scissors are known as one of the "five prestigious brands in Hangzhou". The Scissors were named after its maker Zhang Xiaoquan. Three hundred years ago, Zhang Sijia(zhāng sī jiā 张思家), Zhang Xiaoquan’s father, adopted the Zhejiang Longquan (lóng quán 龙泉) Sword-making technique and applied it to making scissors inlaid with steel. Afterwards, Zhang Xiaoquan inherited his father's business and improved the processing techniques with strict regulations for modes, standards, variety and the degree of tautness. In 1663 Zhang Xiaoquan established the Zhang Xiaoquan Scissors brand. Because of the outstanding quality, Zhang Xiaoquan scissors have been widely sold and won high praise. Gradually it became well known and gain a good reputation throughout China.
Wang Xing Ji Fan Store
Wang Xing Ji Fan Store originally called Wang Xing Zhai Fan Store. The founder of the fan was Wang Xing Zhai. His father and grandfather were engaged in making fans. When Wang Xing Zhai was yong, he followed his father to learn making fans. He worked very hard, the fans he made were praised by local people. In 1929, the name of the store was changed to Wang Xing Ji Fan Store. The traditional fan-making handicraft of "Wang Xing Ji" has been kept quite intact after having undergone the vicissitudes of history. It mainly produce black paper fans, sandalwood fan, fragrant wood fans, white paper fans, silk fans and dancing fans. Wang Xing Ji Fan, Silk and Dragon Well tea (lóng jǐng chá 龙井茶) were listed as the Three Wonders in Hangzhou (háng zhōu sān jué 杭州三绝).
Clay Figure Making
The clay figure (ní rén 泥人) making in Hangzhou originated from the Southern Song Dynasty, when handicraftsmen used mud from the West Lake to make figures like cats and kids to be stored in families to bless peace. This customs continued through the dynasties to the current period.
Taiji Teahouse (tài jí chá lóu 太极茶楼), managed by the offspring of Zheng family (zhèng jiā 郑家) specialized in tea business, now has over 6800 disciples and over 530 franchised teahouses at home and abroad. Zheng family started teahouse business as early as late Qianlong (qián lóng 乾隆) Period of Qing Dynasty. Taiji Teahouse pays great attention to water quality, tea quality and tea preparation skills. Li gang, a disciple of the teahouse, was awarded the first Top Tea Master in China.
Apart from these, there are many other places to visit, such as Taihe Teahouse (tài hé chá lóu 太和茶楼), Wenglongsheng Teahouse (wēng lóng shèng chá hào 翁隆盛茶号), Rongbao Zhai (róng bǎo zhāi 荣宝斋), Guanfu Museum (guān fù bó wù guǎn 观复博物馆), Ancient Ceramics Museum (gǔ táo cí bó wù guǎn 古陶瓷博物馆), World Coin Museum (shì jiè qián bì bó wù guǎn 世界钱币博物馆) etc..
You must feel hungry after strolling around the streets for a long time. Don't worry, there is a snack street which has lots of delicious food. For example, Wu Dalang Cake (wǔ dà láng shāo bǐng 武大郎烧饼), Dingsheng Cake (dìng shèng gāo 定胜糕), Bean Curd With Odor (chòu dòu fǔ 臭豆腐)etc..
When you travel in Hangzhou, don’t forget to visit the Qinghefang Ancient Street.
Qinghefang Ancient Street
Address: Shangcheng District (shàng chéng qū 上城区), Gao Yin Street (gāo yín jiē 高银街), Hanghzou City
Admission fee: free
Opening hours: 09:00 a.m.- 10:00 p.m.
Transportation: you can take No. 8, 30, 38 bus to get there.