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Hangzhou Hefang Street Introduction


Hefang Street
Hefang Street
Hefang Street
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Hefang Street also known as Qinghe Fang Historic Street is the most famous cultural and historic street in Hangzhou, and also the only well-preserved street in Hangzhou. It is a typical epitome of Hangzhou history. Hefang Street is a traditional busy street in Hangzhou.

The history of Hefang Street is originated from South Song Dynasty, when the capital was Hangzhou. The nine-mile imperial town and ten-mile imperial street (today’s Middle Road of Zhongshan Avenue) were built. And then, the authorities, celebrities and dignitaries all settled down around it. The east side used to be the site of Deshou Palace(德寿宫, the palace of virtue and longevity), which was the living palace of Emperor Gaozong, the first emperor of South Song Dynasty. Anciently named Taiping Lane, the imperial street, there was a mansion of Zhang Jun(张俊), who was King of Qinghe(清河郡王), so this site was named Qinghe Fang. In 1229, Zhang Jun defeated the troops of Jin in Ningbo and got the historic Gaoqiao Great Victory, and he was conferred the title of King of Qinghe. This is the historic origin of his honor.

At the time, Hefang Street was a quite prosperous site for business and the center of culture and politics, and also the center of business in Hangzhou. Since then, Hefang Street is always the most popular place of Hangzhou for business. There are lots of time-honored stores on both sides of the street such as Wangxingji(王星记, traditional fan store ), Zhangxiaoquan(张小泉, the traditional scissors store), Wanlong Ham(万隆火腿, a unique famous ham store), Huqingyu Tang(胡庆余堂, a nationally famous traditional chinese medicine and the national traditional chinese medicine museum), Fanghuichun Tang(方回春堂, an old traditional medicine store), Yezhongde Tang(叶种德堂, an old local medicine store), Baohe Tang(保和堂, a legendary traditional medicine hall, which is closely connected the famous love story, the legend of the lady white snake, and Xu Xian and Lady White were said to operate this medicine store to save many lives), Zhuangyuan Guan(状元馆, a famous ancient dining hall for commemorating the first winner in imperial examination), Wangrunxing, Yiyuan Gold Store and Jingyangguan(景阳观, the famous site connected with Wu Song, a hero depicted and widely remembered by Chinese people in the classic novel named Water Margin). By the way, today’s Wu Dalang, the elder brother of Wu Song and killed by his Wife and Ximen Qing, could also be seen on the street. But he actually is a gnome business actor selling sesame cake. Surely, there are various displays or galleries hidden behind the old gates and bricks. But, please free to have a visit, because of these are free of charge!

The landmark of Hefang Street is Drum Tower, which was the southeast starting point of Hefang Street. Anciently known as the Binhai Defense Tower and originally built in south Dynasty. Up to today, it has a history over 1400 years. In different phases, it had different names like Xincheng Wu originally, Chaotian Gate in Sui Dynasty, Gobei Tower in Yuan Dynasty, and Zhao Mengfu, the great calligraphist of Yuan Dynasty, wrote the board. In Ming Dynasty, it was changed to be Zhenhai Tower. In the late period of Ming, due to the threat from the Japanese individuals or groups, some alarming and timing tools like drums were added. In 1563, Governor Hu Zongxian rebuilt this tower and invited Xu Wenchang(徐文长, a famous weird talented scholars and playwright in late Ming Dynasty) to compose a themed prose, which named Zhenhailouji(镇海楼记, the Prose of Zhenhai Tower), and this prose was carved onto a huge stele, unfortunately it was destroyed by red guards. Today’s tower is a reconstructed one and becomes a landmark of Hangzhou opposite to the city god pavilion on Wu Hill.

The highlights of Hefang Street also include the delicious snacks apart from its old time-honored stores and the original looks. The snack lane is located at the end of the street, and diverse fresh snacks are cheaply served. And locally welcome among the younger generations. Generally, the tourists prefer to visit Hefang Street for shopping and tasting after having a free travel to West Lake. It is a classic site to know the sign of humanity of Hangzhou.

Around the Hefang Street, the noteworthy attractions also include Wushan Scenic Area, City God Pavilion, South Song Imperial Thoroughfare and Hangzhou Museum.

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Editor: Julius from Mildchina
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