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Shibati Restored to Chongqing Traditional Bayu Glory

By JAMES ALEXANDERWANG, XIAOYANICHONGQING|Sep 29,2021

Chongqing– The historical and cultural quarters of Baixiang Street and Shibati (literally 18 Steps), a group of typical traditional Bayu streets, are due to reopen on September 30, following a meticulous and lengthy period of reconstruction that has restored the locations into new tourist hotspots in time for the National Day Holiday starting on October 1st.

The 18 Steps was once a vital thoroughfare leading up and down the southern half of the Yuzhong Peninsula. The area is steeped in centuries of Baya history and culture, and holds profound nostalgia for the people of Chongqing.

Great importance has been attached to the economic and social development of Yuzhong District, which has driven the continuous process of urban renewal in order to better serve people’s need for high-quality living.

18 Steps

Visitors flock to explore the myriad of streets at the newly restored 18 Steps a day prior to the scenic area’s official unveiling. (iChongqing/ Wang Xiaoyan)

18 Steps restored to former Bayu glory

A traditional mountainside ‘fishbone’ layout adhering to Bayu style architecture has been retained with steeply terraced walkways, and buildings that maintain their original dimensions and appearance to recreate the old mountain city flavors.

A wealth of cultural and historical relics such as the old French Consulate and match factory has been preserved in line with principles demanding protection first, rational usage and strengthened management.

Historical scenes have been recreated through the introduction of national intangible cultural heritage, including the first Copper House Art Museum in Southwest China, and the Yuchaofang theatre, which integrates Beijing and Sichuanese opera to bring innovative performances of traditional stage drama.

18 Steps

Great care was taken to retain the original appearance, dimensions and old Mountain City atmosphere at the 18 Steps. (iChongqing/ Wang Xiaoyan)

High-quality performance activities such as fashion shows, live music parties, celebrity appearances, and live night processions will be launched to ensure there are highlights taking place on a weekly and monthly basis.

The construction of 5g powered smart facilities within the scenic area has been sped up through an outdoor Internet of Things network, which features smart light poles, zebra crossings and parking management, enabling intelligence to empower the scenic spot and add color to life.

Areas A, B and C at the 18 Steps are due to open to the public from September 30, while the further two areas D and E are scheduled to open for business and tourists next year.

18 Steps

Retro-style lampposts and steeply terraced walkways bring home a feeling of deep nostalgia for old Baya culture among locals in Chongqing. (iChongqing/ Wang Xiaoyan)

Street of many Chongqing “firsts” reopens

Baixiang Street scenic area is to simultaneously re-open to the public with a brand new look following a long period of refurbishment and upgrade.

Located in the lower core of Yuzhong District, the new look Baixiang Street spans over 70,000 square meters featuring cultural relics, and is the only large-scale commercial complex based in a historical and cultural quarter of Chongqing.

Prior to the modern era, Baixiang street had always been a political and economic center for Chongqing, also serving as a transportation hub.

Countless modern elements including the first customs house, office building, shipping company, cinema, and library in Chongqing.

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The restored Baixiang Street is home to many former historical sites such as the former French Consulate. (iChongqing/ James Alexander)

Following liberation, many cultural relics were preserved in Baixiang Street, such as the ancient “yamen” government office, Drum Tower, and Chongqing city gate, which are blended with modern elements including the first customs house, office building, shipping company, cinema, and library to be established in Chongqing.

The plans for Baixiang Street took culture, tourism and business as the leading design principles, while the meticulous study was performed to recreate the port culture atmosphere from when Chongqing first opened to the world.

Baixiang street now offers immersive tourist experiences including retro street lighting, trams, white elephant (Baixiang) features, and Guangcai Splendor Avenue.

A tourist bus route is in the planning stage to connect popular scenic spots on the Yuzhong Peninsula including the 18 Steps, Shancheng Alley, Baixiang street and Hongyadong, which will bring extra convenience to the rich experiences on offer to tourists.

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