Kuanzhai Xiangzi (Wide and Narrow Alleys)
Composed of three parallel alleys, Kuan Xiangzi (Wide Alley), Zhai Xiangzi (Narrow Alley), and Jing Xiangzi (Well Alley), Wide and Narrow Alley is one of the most famous historical and cultural preserves in Chengdu. It’s located in Qingyang District, to the east of Tongren Road and west of Changshun Street.
Highlights – Attractive Activities
- Tea Party – Harmonizing Ancient and Modern
Every year, there is a series of activities in March and April advertised as the “Wide and Narrow Alley Tea Party”. The Tea Party perfectly harmonizes traditional tea culture with modern life. Thus, tourists can enjoy a leisurely lifestyle in Chengdu by means of a cup of tea.
- Street Music Season – A Combination of History and Fashion
The street music season convened in Wide and Narrow Alley sets up a display platform for street music, which fully reveals the characteristic of Wide and Narrow Alley – a combination of ancient and modern, tradition and trendiness.
Wide and Narrow Alley, therefore, has become one of the centers of music cultural exchange in Chengdu, a leader in Chengdu musical fashion.
- Wide and Narrow Alley Class – A Public Chengdu Culture Class
Wide and Narrow Alley Class is held once a month, and it is a public class about Chengdu’s culture, different life experiences, the history of Wide and Narrow Alley, and all kinds of art. By attending the class, tourists can experience Chengdu’s original culture along with its fabulous historical and cultural landscapes.
In addition, the class lists the classics of Chengdu from the perspectives of history, culture, architecture, and food, presenting to the public the most brilliant and distinctive features of Chengdu.
Three Alleys – Each with Unique Characteristics
- Wide Alley – Nostalgic and Leisurely
Wide Alley was called Xingren Hutong during the Xuantong Reign (1908-12 AD). Here gather the most complete old buildings, along with many architectures from the late Qing dynasty (1644-1912) and the early Republic of China (1912-49), as well as western-style church buildings. Wide Alley presents the most nostalgic architectures and exhibits the leisurely life of locals.
De Men Ren Li, at No. 8 Wide Alley, is a special yard reproducing the daily life of an ordinary family in western Sichuan. In this yard, you can experience the original life of old Chengdu. It used to be the location of a TV play but has now become a boutique hotel, which is a perfect combination of classic and modern.
- Narrow Alley – Fashionable and Modern
A narrow alley, which is synonymous with fashion and modernity, represents the typical slow life of Chengdu. It mainly shows the courtyard culture of the city. Its courtyards are mostly occupied by stylish bars and restaurants, and tourists and youths who love literature and art gather there.
Narrow Alley shows off the good life. Western and fast food cafés, a health hall, and a distinctive cultural theme shop are found here.
Shuan Ma Shi
Shuan Ma Shi, at no. 32 Narrow Alley, is a stone horse tied on the wall. At a height of 1.2 meters, it is one of the three remaining Shuan Ma Shi in Wide and Narrow Alley.
Besides, hundreds of years ago Sichuan Province was the home of the northern Man and Mongol nationalities, who were horse-riders, so Shuan Ma Shi is also symbolic of northern culture in western Sichuan.
- Well Alley – Representing Folk Customs in Chengdu
Well Alley, known during the Qing dynasty as Ruyi Hutong or Mingde Hutong, is a microcosm of Chengdu folk custom. It shows the urban life of the old Chengdu. After renovation, people built a 500-meter-long culture brick wall and a 500-meter-long folk custom wall in memory of the old culture and folk customs.
Would you like to have more experiences like Wide and Narrow Alley? Our Panda & Chengdu Highlights Tour will interest you.
The history of Wide and Narrow Alley can be traced back to the early Qing dynasty (1644-1912 AD). At that time, the Qing government built a walled city in Chengdu as the residence for the Eight Banners soldiers and their families.
In 1714, the 60th year of Kangxi’s reign, General Nian Gengyao in Chengdu suggested the central government should send 1,600 people and station them permanently in Chengdu.
In 1751. to consolidate the southwest border, the emperor’s court set up the Jiangjun Yamen in Chengdu. The city was once composed of 42 lanes, of which Wide Alley, Narrow Alley, and Well Alley were three.
Among dozens of important cities during the Manchu regime, Chengdu is the best-preserved. Wide and Narrow Alley demonstrates nearly 300 years of the historical development of the Manchu regime during the Qing dynasty.
Its historical and cultural background shape its unique architectural style: a combination of both complete city pattern and barracks, both hutongs from the north of China and courtyards from Sichuan, both western architecture from the period of the Republic of China and dwelling houses from western Sichuan.
How to Get There
- Location: Qingyang District, east of Tongren Road and west of Changshun Street
- Bus: Take bus no 62, 70, 93, 126, 127, 163, or 340, and get off at Kuanzhai Xiangzi Station.
- Metro: Take line 4, and get off at Wide and Narrow Alley Station.