The reopened Qianmen Street

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By Sapna  Maheshwari Intern Reporter

Qianmen Street was flooded with tourists on Friday, Aug. 8th, one day after it reopened.

Many were waving China and Olympic Games flags or had their faces painted in anticipation of the evening's Olympic Games opening ceremony.

The street was repaved and the buildings all feature classic Chinese architecture and decorations such as archways labeled with gold-colored Chinese characters and pagoda-style rooftops .

A variety of stores and restaurants line the street, including an official Olympics store, places to buy chopsticks, jewelry and clothing and the well-known Quanjude roasted duck restaurant. It also boasts China's oldest movie theater as well as a number of tea shops.

A tramway was also restored after it was discontinued in the 1960s. But the tramway along the street will not be operational during the Olympics because Olympic marathon runners will pass along the street.

Qianmen Street will offer Beijing historic and cultural displays during the Games, according to Wang Chengguo, the Chongwen district spokesperson.

The commercial street recently underwent an extensive facelift that began in May 2007, lasting more than a year. The street was repaved and the buildings all feature classic Chinese architecture and decorations. Tourists could be seen taking pictures of the street in every direction.

Qianmen is the common named for the gateway formally known as Zhengyang Gate. It is located south of Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City on Beijing's historic central axis. The 840-meter street starts from the north at Jianlou building and runs south until Tiantan Road. It became a commercial street about 570 years ago, reaching its peak in the 1920s and 1930s and remains a well-known tourist attraction.

( August 10, 2008)

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