Old and new, real and fake, moral and immoral, it was all to be found on Liulichang Street, it is really a visitor's treat.Located in the southwestern part of the city, Liulichang is one of two streets which still bear the appearance of a Qing Dynasty market street ( the other is Suzhou Street in the Summer Palace mainly for show purposes).
In the 1980s, the street was renovated and various specialized shops were rebuilt. With brightly painted doors and eaves and gracefully curved black-tile-roofs buildings, a little of old Beijing's lifestyle retained here.The China Bookstore, Rongbaozhai, and Jiguge are the most famous antique stores in Liulichang. The China Bookstore located at the back of a courtyard of the first complex on the north, sells second-hand foreign language books.
A used bookstore in China, particularly that has foreign language offerings was once a rare thing, but this one also has a curious organizational style. All the foreign-language material is mixed together.
English-language works stand spine-to spine with Russian and German works. Literature shares shelf space with psychology and history.Some of the books are stamped with university library and church seals. Antiques like this, worth a fair amount anywhere, go for no small sum in Liulichang. Good deals may be found among the Chinese books, however. If you are patient and know what you want.
Those who love antiques or arts and crafts will find it an ideal place to shop, and those who re not planning on spending money may also find it worth going to have a look at the street itself.Along the street, peddlers hawk snacks, groceries, toys and copper coins, all kind of small commodities. Merchants race to their doors with a welcoming "hello, hello" for all their customers, but they all rack their brains to attract foreigners' attention.
Some offer free seal-carving services and they even can find a perfect Chinese name for you if you like. Some shop owners invite folk artists to their shops such as an 80-year-old heir to the Qing Dynasty's royal embroidery tradition.
It is amazing to watch this elderly man embroider a pair of little shoes for a pair of tiny feet.