Kuan-Zhai Xiangzi – The Wide and Narrow Alleys of Chengdu, China
The Wide-Narrow Alleys (Kuanzhai Xiangzi – 宽窄巷子) are a set of lanes that have been preserved by the local government in Chengdu. About 60% of the buildings have been rebuilt, and 40% were renovated in their original architectural style. The rebuilt buildings took some liberties, adding some touches that would help them be more commercially appealing – for example, French style windows. This gives the alleys a feeling that I would describe as chic-ancient. Nonetheless, they’re a very popular tourist destination in Chengdu. As the sun comes down, people swarm the streets to shop and eat. They’re not there for the historic value. If they are, they’ll be walking away disappointed.