A “CITIZENS SQUARE” currently under construction in southern Beijing is expected to breathe new life into the “folk art centre” of the early 1900s.
Located in the southern part of the city, the Tianqiao, or “heavenly bridge,” was first built during the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) and became a centre of Chinese folk art at the end of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).
Historians say folk art performed at Tianqiao in the early 20th century were modern forms of some ancient religious rituals and the prototype of Beijing’s culture and entertainment market.
The street also gave birth to many artistic forms including ballad singing and acrobatics. Even today, Tianqiao is still seen as the epitome of Beijing’s culture by writers, artists and overseas Chinese who have returned over the years to seek their ancestral roots.
Construction of the rectangular, 5,000sq metre citizens square started on Dec 16.
On the eastern end of the square will stand a bell tower – a one-time landmark in the area –and on the western end, a fountain and statues.
The square will provide a retreat with its lawns, trees and benches. It will also have an underground parking lot, a department store featuring Beijing’s folk art and a cultural heritage museum.
Tianqiao is one of Beijing’s old residential areas which need renovations. But priority has been given to the preservation and restoration of its original flavour. – People’s Daily
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