Sideng Street, Yunnan（云南茶马古道寺登街）
Sideng Street, Yunnan
Located in Shaxi town of Yunnan Province, Sideng Street is the only bazaar along the tea and horse route that survived the wars and chaos throughout the centuries.
From the neolithic age to Ming and Qing dynasties, the tough geography and environment around the town made it an important communication center on the route. People had to pass the town before heading north to Tibet and south to the Central Plains. As time went by, Shaxi became a distribution center where businessmen from Southeast Asia, South Asia and West Asia exchanged goods. Fur and feathers and Tibetan herbs were transported on horseback from Tibet to the town and exchanged for much-needed goods like salt and tea.
Sideng Street was one of the busy bazaars in Shaxi Town and the only well-preserved trading center along the historic route. It was included in the 2002 World Monuments Watch List of 100 Most Endangered Sites on October 11, 2001 by the World Monuments Fund.
In today's Sideng Street complex, the Bai ethnic-style buildings, with the structure of shops in the front and yard in the back, are standing alongside the stone-slab roads. In the east of the complex, there is an intact ancient theater built during the Qing Dynasty, a stage and a pavilion with three layers of eaves. In the west of the complex, there is a Buddhist Temple from the Bai ethnic group called Xingjiao Temple. Built in 1415 during the Ming Dynasty, the temple has more than 20 murals painted by Zhang Bao, a famous Bai painter. It is a miracle that the architecture of the temple is still in good condition after 600 years.
There used to be three gates of Sideng Street complex, but now only the east gate remains. The imprints of horses' hoofs can still be seen there.