The Qianmen Street
is the common name for the gateway known formally as Zhengyangmen. It is a gate in Beijing
. It stands at the south end of the Tiananmen Square
precinct, and was formerly the front gate of the Inner City, a part of the ancient city of Beijing. It was burnt to ashes in 1900 when the Allied Forces of the Eight Powers ransacked Beijing. It has been redevelopment, and restored its streetscape to that of the early twentieth century, and through uses of historical photos, becoming the second pedestrian thoroughfare in the Chinese capital, after Wangfujing Street
, the downtown shopping district.
With its latticework of horizontal alleys, the north-south Qianmen Street prospered as a commercial strip as early as Yuan Dynasty (1206-1368). By the time of Emperor Jiajing, the 12th Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) emperor, the street was dotted with guild halls built by different localities, to provide housing to citizens intending to take the imperial exams.
Qianmen Street became even more prosperous in the early years of Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) with the development of activities such as lantern fairs, theaters and teahouses. Places like the Guanghe Theater -- today threatened with demolition-- and the Quanjude roast duck restaurant are part of Beijing's history.