Beijing is to reconstruct Liulichang, the "Colored Glaze Street", as a cultural commodities center featuring traditional Chinese architecture.
The street currently features many stalls selling traditional Chinese works of art, such as calligraphy, Chinese paintings, chinaware and jade.
The cultural commodities center will function as a place to trade jade and antiques, a distribution center for Chinese handicrafts, a commercial center for old books, and an area for Chinese cultural exchange activities.
A collection of antique shops are located in the area, giving both local and international visitors a chance to experience a part of Beijing's history.
There are no sky scrapers on the street, but there are "Siheyuan" or Chinese-style rectangular courtyards with one-story houses built in gray tiles and brown bricks featuring delicate designs on the doorways.
The new center will be one square km in size, with one quarter allotted to trade, the rest will be filled with Hutongs and Siheyuans, architecture typical of ancient Beijing.
The street was named "Colored Glaze" because of the many kilns used to produce colored glaze tiles for the construction of imperial palaces during the Yuan (1271-1368) and Ming (1368-1644) dynasties. During the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), businessmen came here to deal in calligraphy works and paintings.
Department officials said the local government has decided to reconstruct the area to relieve congestion caused by several hundred businesses and street stalls located on the roadsides.
Moving and reconstruction is expected to be finished in three years. Besides keeping the old-style buildings, more Siheyuans will be built to represent traditional Beijing culture.