In the World Now

Sanfang Qixiang: Fujian’s Famous Historical Street

10Nov 2017 鄭航

Zheng Hang

Fuzhou City, Fujian Province, China

2016 Nagasaki Overseas Technical Trainee

Lived in Nagasaki from Aug. 2016 to Mar. 2017

 

 

 

 

Hello! My name is Zheng Hang and I was a Nagasaki Overseas Technical Trainee from August 2016 to March 2017. Since I’ve returned to Fujian, I’ve thought back fondly many times about my life in Nagasaki, the calmness and beauty of the city, as well as the many people I got to know while I was there. I hope I get to go back someday.

 

 

I now live in Fuzhou City in Fujian Province, which is at about the same latitude as Okinawa. So, when summer comes it gets really hot. At the beginning of July this year it was already reaching temperatures of 38 degrees. Fuzhou is a city on the sea, just like Nagasaki, but it is much hotter here.

 

Fujian Province and Nagasaki Prefecture, as well as Fuzhou City and Nagasaki City, are sister-cities, and the two regions have had friendly relations since long ago. Last year I only lived in Nagasaki for the space of six months, but during that time I felt quite at home in Nagasaki.

For example, in Nagasaki’s China Town, there is a street called “Fuken-doori”. Also, the famous Nagasaki food “champon” tastes like and is made just like Fuzhou’s seafood noodle dish. Certain words in Fuzhou’s local dialect have a pronunciation similar to Japanese. I think that if people from Nagasaki visited Fuzhou, I believe they would have experiences similar to mine.

 

 

Fuzhou’s Seafood Noodle Dish

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Nagasaki Champon

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I would like to tell you all about one of the most famous tourist spots in Fuzhou.

This famous place is called 三坊七巷 (Sanfang Qixiang), and it’s a very old part of the province. The name is derived by the three (三) streets (坊), and seven (七) alleys (巷). Actually, one of the streets and two of the alleys have been rebuilt, so only two streets and five alleys remain (二坊五巷). In this area there are many roads that have remained since the Tang and Song Dynasties and they retain the same looks they had way back then. This historical section of the city has over 200 very old buildings. It is an important testament to the historical and cultural heritage of Fuzhou. Projects began in 2006 to restore and maintain this historical area of the city, and many buildings have been repaired.

 

 

 

Sanfang Qixiang at night

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The night view is also beautiful.

 

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Sanfang Qixiang in the evening.

This area’s claim to fame is that it contains the former residences of many famous people as well as having many old buildings that date from the Qing Dynasty. My favorite of all these old buildings is 二梅書屋 (Ermei Shuwu).

 

The name of this building comes from the two plum trees (二梅 – “two plums”) that grew outside its gate. The plum is known as one of the Three Friends of Winter (the other two are pines and bamboo), because it is resilient against the cold, and blooms modest but beautiful flowers. The plum has been loved by Chinese writers and artists since long ago and have been commonly used in writing, painting, and porcelain works. Plum trees can be used to represent people who can overcome any obstacle. I’ve heard that plum trees have also been popular in Japan for a long time. You can even see plums in the patters on porcelain in Hasami Wares. This past February at Yushima Tenmangu in Tokyo there was held the 60th Plum Festival and it was very beautiful.

 

Hasami ceramic tea cup with a plum flower pattern

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 The Ermei Shuwu was originally built 600 years ago in the Ming Dynasty, then rebuilt 100 years later during the Qing Dynasty. This was the residence of Lin Xingzhang, who in addition to being an official of the Imperial Court, was also the director of the Fengchi Shuyuan, which was the biggest of the four great private schools of Fuzhou, which contributed greatly to the development of human resources in the area. There are many residences of prominent people from the Ming and Qing Dynasties in this area but this one has been preserved the best.

 

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Ermei Shuwu

Just by walking around the Sanfang Qixiang you can catch a glimpse of the Ming and Qing Dynasty Eras of China and learn a lot about Chinese history. If you ever get the chance I hope you come by for a visit! I would love to show you around!