Beihai Old Street refers to Zhuhai Road. It locates in Haicheng District, Beihai, which is an old street with a history of nearly 200 years. It was built in 1821 and named as Shengping Street originally. It was only 200 meters long and 4 meters wide at that time. With the continuous development for decades, it has become a popular commercial street with a length of 1.44 kilometers and a width of 9 meters. It is a National 4A Class Scenic Area.
Development process of Beihai Old Street
Beihai Old Street formed in 1927, but it could be traced back to the early 19th century. At that time, a number of Western-style buildings have been built one after another in Beihai. After half a century of such cultural integration, the old street was finally formed. These buildings are not the simple replicas of Western architectures but instead, they are the beautiful crystallization of the collision of Eastern and Western cultures.
Beihai Old Street used to be the most prosperous commercial district in Beihai. There are many shops along the street. The shops in the middle section sell the silks mainly made in Suzhou and Hangzhou. The shops in the east section mainly sell the dried seafood such as squid, sandworms, dried shrimps and dried fish. The western section sells the fishermen’s supplies such as cables, fishing nets, hooks, fishing lights, wind canvas, boat nails, etc.
Features of Beihai Old Street
Along this old street, there are many Chinese and Western style buildings, such as the former consulates of Britain, France and Germany, the former site of German Sembold International Bank, and the former site of the Catholic Church Women's Seminary, which witness the prosperity of Beihai City.
Most of these buildings along the street have two to three floors. There are carved lines on the outer edge of the arch and the top of the window post, with smooth lines and exquisite craftsmanship. There are different styles of the decorations and reliefs on the walls facing to the street. The arcade part of these buildings facing the street is an extension of the road to both sides. People walking under the arcade can shelter from wind and rain as well as avoid the scorching sun. The square pillars of the arcades are thick in a unique ancient Rome style.
The historic and cultural Beihai Old Street have the important values not only to Beihai, but also to the Southern China, and even the whole world.