Shopping Streets Tour, Xian

Shopping Streets Tour (Self Guided), Xian

Back in the day, Xian was the starting point of the ancient Silk Road. Foreign traders used to come here to procure local merchandise such as tea, silk, and porcelain that were in high demand internationally throughout centuries.

In recent years, although the commercial center in China has shifted to the coastline area, Xian remains a major destination for quality shopping, especially when it comes to Chinese arts like paintings and calligraphy, calligraphy accessories, handcraft items, antiques, and traditional artifacts. There are several bustling shopping areas in town where you can find all of these and more.

First up is Huajue Xiang Souvenir Street, a firm favorite among tourists looking for mementos of their trip. This street is lined with shops selling traditional Chinese handicrafts, souvenirs, and trinkets. It's a great place to pick up gifts for friends and family back home.

Next in line is Muslim Street, a lively historic area that represents a unique blend of Chinese and Islamic cultures. Here, you can savor delicious street food, such as lamb kebabs and flatbreads, as well as shop for Middle Eastern spices, textiles, and Islamic attire. The vibrant atmosphere and rich cultural experience make this street a fun place to visit.

If you're interested in the arts, head over to Arts Street, also known as Shu Yuan Men. Here, you can explore a wide range of art galleries, studios, and shops selling traditional Chinese art and crafts. It's a great place to appreciate and purchase Chinese paintings, sculptures, and ceramics.

Lastly, Painting and Calligraphy Street is a haven for art enthusiasts. This street is dedicated to the world of traditional Chinese painting and calligraphy. As you can imagine, here you will find everything, from brushes and ink to beautifully crafted artworks. An ideal place to immerse yourself in the beauty of Chinese artistic traditions!

So, the next time you visit Xian, make sure to explore these vibrant shopping districts for a taste of local cuisine, unique artwork, or memorable keepsakes. Enjoy your shopping!
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Shopping Streets Tour Map

Guide Name: Shopping Streets Tour
Guide Location: China » Xian (See other walking tours in Xian)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 4
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.0 Km or 1.2 Miles
Author: helenp
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Huajue Xiang Souvenir Street
  • Muslim Street
  • Arts Street (Shu Yuan Men)
  • Painting and Calligraphy Street
Huajue Xiang Souvenir Street

1) Huajue Xiang Souvenir Street

The street leading to the Great Mosque in Xian is the Huajue Xiang Street. It is lined with shops selling souvenirs for tourists to take home. Unlike the antique markets of Xian where serious collectors look for authentic objects, this street sells replicas and other souvenirs.

The Huajue Xiang Street has been part of the city of Xian for over a thousand years. It was established during the reign of the Tang Dynasty. At the time it was a small street called Ziwu Xiang. The street has an irregular shape and first runs from east to west and suddenly runs north. There is a traditional Chinese gateway at the entrance of the market. The narrow street flanked by shops stretches all the way to the Great Mosques. Most of the sellers in the souvenir street are Hui people who follow the Muslim faith.

The stores on Huajue Xiang Street sell replicas of all types of traditional Chinese objects. Visitors are encouraged to bargain and are sure to get replicas of an array of objects like jade artifacts and Ming vases at cheap prices. Besides replicas, the stores sell luggage, shoes, jewelry, clothes fans, watches and replicas of terracotta army figure similar to those at the terra cotta museum.
Muslim Street

2) Muslim Street (must see)

The street from the Drum Tower to Beiyuan Gate in Xian is referred to as the Muslim Street. It is a shopping street with shops selling products and restaurants serving dishes with an Islamic flavor.

Muslim Street is the area where the muslins live in Xian. It is 500 meters long and paved with black stones. The buildings that flank the street retain the old architecture of the Ming and Qing Dynasties. The area has ten mosques of different sizes including China’s earliest Great Mosque. The muslins came to China from central Asia through the silk route. The street offers a unique atmosphere compared to other parts of the city and adds to the cultural diversity of Xian.

The Muslim Street is frequented by locals for the many delicacies served in the restaurants. Well known dishes include bread soaked in mutton stew, pickled vegetables, sliced beef stirred with rice and small crisp mutton. The latter dish consists of mutton wrapped in starch and steamed. Black plum juice is served to visitors to wash down the rich food served by the restaurants in Muslim Street.
Arts Street (Shu Yuan Men)

3) Arts Street (Shu Yuan Men) (must see)

The Shu Yuan Men Street also called the Arts Street or the Calligraphy Street has shops dating back to over 400 years. They sell Chinese arts, crafts, calligraphy and traditional Chinese paintings.

The Shu Yuan Men Street is a small crowded street located behind the Forest of Steles Museum in Xian. The entrance is through an ancient gate called the South Gate. The street gets its name from the Guanzhong Shuyuan which was once a school for classical learning. Today, the Xian normal School and a primary school are located on the site of the old Guanzhong Shuyuan. The shops retain the old facades of buildings from the Ming and Qing Dynasties.

The Shu Yuan Men Street has stores selling traditional hand crafted objects. Oriental paintings of different styles are also available at the market. Visitors looking for genuine calligraphy scrolls can buy them at the many stores located here. They also sell calligraphy brushes, inks and other accessories for serious calligraphists. One can also buy jade articles, jewelry, antiques and folk artifacts at the market. The old Muslim Quarter at the northern end of the street has a gallery of traditional Chinese paintings. The gallery is housed in an old Ming style building with a courtyard where artists still produce traditional Chinese paintings.
Painting and Calligraphy Street

4) Painting and Calligraphy Street (must see)

Shuyuanmen Street, nestled in Xi'an's cultural quarter, stands out for its historic and cultural significance. This area is celebrated for its classic architecture and a plethora of stores offering items like calligraphy, paintings, antiques, and assorted cultural memorabilia.

This street offers a diverse selection of cultural mementos, ideal for personal keepsakes or as gifts. Here, visitors can discover various calligraphy pieces and paintings, some of which are replicas of renowned Tang dynasty artworks, along with distinctive antiques and crafts. A notable item among these is the seal, a traditional Chinese stamp utilized in calligraphy and art, customizable with a personal name or message.

Dating back to the Tang Dynasty and thriving in the Ming Dynasty around 1692, the street's origin traces to the retirement of Wu Congwu, a high-ranking official, to Xi'an after a setback in conflicts with eunuchs. Historically, it was a gathering place for scholars and intellectuals attending the nearby Guanzhong Academy. Presently, the street maintains much of its historical allure, attracting both tourists and locals.

The architecture of Shuyuanmen Street, characterized by sloping roofs, red lanterns, and detailed wooden façades, epitomizes traditional Chinese design. The blend of brick and stone with decorative elements offers a timeless aesthetic. This architecture also includes elements from various cultures, like Islamic and Central Asian, reflecting the city's past as a significant cultural and trade hub.

Visitors can explore numerous shops and galleries along the street and visit nearby attractions like the Shaanxi History Museum and the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. The area also hosts traditional teahouses and restaurants, offering a taste of local cuisine.

Shuyuanmen Street continues to be a prime cultural hotspot in Xi'an, hosting events such as book fairs, art exhibits, and calligraphy contests, contributing to the preservation and celebration of Xi'an's rich cultural legacy.

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