Shopping Streets Tour (Self Guided), Xian

Xian is the former starting point of the ancient Silk Road. It was here that foreign traders came to do business and procure local goods, like Chinese tea, silk and porcelain - all were much sought after internationally, for centuries.

Although the commercial center in China has moved to its coastline in recent years, Xian is still an amazing place where you can do some quality shopping, especially if you crave for traditional Chinese products like paintings and calligraphy, calligraphy accessories, handcraft items, antiques, and folk artifacts. There are several street markets in the city specializing in such products, and this self-guided walking tour takes you to explore them.
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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
1
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.
2
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.
3
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.
4
Painting and Calligraphy Street

4) Painting and Calligraphy Street (must see)

The Painting and Calligraphy street is located behind the Forest of Steles Museum. This street is a place where you can find the classical Chinese paintings and calligraphies. If you are into Chinese painting and calligraphy, this place is a must-visit when you are in Xian. Even if you are not buying anything, watching artists practicing Chinese painting and calligraphy in the shops and studios lined the street is still a treat that makes the visit worthwhile.

Most dealers are pleasant and quite knowledgeable in their field, and are willing to spend time to answer your questions and help you choose a suitable item.

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