Chongqing- One of the oldest central shopping streets in Chongqing, with a history dating back more than 1000 years. Once a center of commerce and porcelain Longyinzhen has a special place in Chongqing’s heart. But you may know the place by a different name, Ciqikou.
The history of Ciqikou Ancient Town can be traced back to 998 AD, to the Song Dynasty. According to the legend, the ancient town used to be called Longyin Town (which literally means hidden Dragon Town) as an emperor from the Ming Dynasty took refuge here because his uncle assumed power, causing the then emperor to flee. The ancient town is right next to what used to be the port. Gradually the town became a prosperous commercial port and a great variety of businesses started to flourish in this area.
Around 300 years ago, during the Huguang Repopulation of the Sichuan Migration Movement, migrants from Fujian introduced porcelain production into the Ancient Town. Since then, the porcelain business became popular in this area. Through the port, the porcelain products were shipped to other provinces, which in turn generated income for the ancient town. Its current name Ciqikou means a porcelain production port. With the convenient transportation port and dynamic businesses in this area, Ciqikou Ancient Town enjoys great prosperity throughout its history. During the Second World War, when Chongqing served as China’s temporary capital, many government agencies and institutions of higher learning moved to Ciqikou, which enabled this area to maintain and even develop to its the stop momentum in culture, industry, commerce, and transportation.
As rail and road transportation gradually took over the river one, Ciqikou Ancient Town experienced a period of downturn in terms of its development, but the ancient landscape got preserved.
Today, Ciqikou Ancient Town saw its great prosperity again as one of the top tourist destinations in Chongqing, where visitors got a chance to see hundreds of years old China’s ancient residential and business blocks, visit the sites of famous figures, taste local snacks, buy souvenirs.
Baolun Temple, situated at the top of a hill in the middle of the ancient town dates back more than 1500 years and is the oldest part of the ancient town. The legend goes that the Emperor from the Ming Dynasty was forced to live here, seeking refuge because his uncle assumed power from him. The temple was also known as Longyin Temple, because of hiding the dragon. You can visit the temple in Ciqikou, and we will cover the temple in more detail, in a future Travel Guide Episode.
Zhong’s Courtyard was built around 1890. The owner is Mr. Zhong, who grew up in Ciqikou. The entire courtyard has both the charm of the northern courtyard and the exquisite and elegant characteristics of the southern houses. Ancient cultural relics of the Ming and Qing dynasties displayed in the courtyard such as porcelain, beds, and traditional round table, and other traditional household items.
Hanlin Academy is the only ancient private school preserved in Chongqing downtown. During the Qing Dynasty, the school won its popularity as several students from the school became important officials. The ancient private school site has been well kept. And now the yard in the site has served as a traditional teahouse.
The thousand-year-old pedestrian street of Ciqikou is the busiest part of the ancient area. The old-style buildings on street sides offer a great variety of snacks, souvenirs, and costume shops. You can find stylish bars with young singers singing and traditional teahouse with opera performance going on. Or you can just find a quiet garden in the alleys to relax.
Address: No. 1, Cinan Road, Shapingba District, Chongqing, China.
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