Wangfujing Street, located in the Dongcheng District of Beijing, is one of China’s most attractive and modern shopping streets. Now much of the road is off-limits to cars and other motor vehicles, and it is not rare to see the entire street full of people.
Since the middle of Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) there have been commercial activities. In the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), eight aristocratic estates and princess residence were built here, soon after when a well full of sweet water was discovered, thereby giving the street its name “Wang Fu” (=aristocratic residence), “Jing” (=well). In 1903, Dong’an market was formed. Wangfujing has become one of the four traditional downtown areas of Beijing, in addition to Dashilar, Xidan, and Liulichang.
The Street starts from Wangfujing Nankou, where the Oriental Plaza and the Beijing Hotel are located. It then heads north, passing the Wangfujing Xinhua Bookstore, the Beijing Department Store as well as the Beijing Foreign Languages Bookstore before ending at the Xindong’an Plaza.
Prior to the late 1990s trolleybuses, buses, and other traffic ran through the street, making it rather congested. Modifications in 1999 and 2000 made much of Wangfujing Street car-free (aside from the tour trolley and occasional military vehicles doing bank transfers).
Wangfujing is now home to around 280 famous brands of Beijing, such as Shengxifu hat store, Tongshenghe shoe shop, Wuyutai tea house. A photo studio which took formal photos of the first Chinese leadership, the New China Woman and Children Department Store helped established by Soong Ching-ling (Mme Sun Yat-sen) were also located on the street.
Wangfujing has a selection of exotic food on the Snack Street as well as lots of mouth-watering common foods, such as Chuanr (meat kebabs, commonly made of lamb) and desserts like Tanghulu and candied fruits.