Qingguo Lane Now and Then

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After a couple of years of steady construction and renovation, Qingguo Lane has finally reopened to the public. The city invested a lot of money in this, as the this whole area has been a central part of Changzhou history going back thousands of years. Many wealthy and influential families lived here. The little canal here is likely one reason: it connects to the Grand Beijing-Hangzhou Canal. This tiny artificial waterway was essentially like an on ramp to a mega highway in ancient China. Now, however, this whole area is meant to become one of Changzhou’s signature cultural attractions.

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This idea was not lost on a lot of locals over the Labor Day holidays. The first two days of operation saw massive crowds who came to do a walk through. I was one of those people on a few separate days. The totality of what is actually here, and what is destined to be here years to come, is likely the source of several other blog posts. However, I just wanted to take a moment to appreciate that it’s now open. To do that, I’m going to have to show a few more photos and speak of a famous linguist.

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The above comes from signage that’s located at the west and east entrances of Qingguo.  Note the building with the characters 赵元任故居. The English translation of that would be Zhao Yuanren’s Former Residence. He was a linguistics scholar that eventually became an American citizen. He’s an important figure when you’re studying Chinese, and he’s also important if you are Chinese and studying English. Why? He wrote one of the earliest and most authoritative textbooks on Chinese spoken grammar in English. He’s important for a few other reasons that will make for a separate post at another time. So, recently, I went looking for his house.

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It’s not really there. This is not a complaint; it’s more of an observation. Qingguo Lane has some cool things to look at and some places to shop; however, there are even better things to come. This is just the beginning. The empty spaces will fill in, and more things will be built. However, I also wanted to take a moment to remember what this area used to look like.

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This was not the first time I went looking for Zhao’s Changzhou home.  It looked pretty shabby, abandoned, and crumbling back in 2015.

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Before it closed for renovation, I had often walked through the old Qingguo

It was an easy short cut. However, a lot of the photos I had of the the place were lost when I lost a phone a few years back. Thankfully,I do have one surviving shot. This….

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That was then, and this is now. If you would like to see the current reincarnation of Qingguo, it’s downtown and near Wenhuagong. The east entrance is on Heping Road. The West is on Jinling.

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Funny thing. Map apps still think it’s closed and under reconstruction.

8 thoughts on “Qingguo Lane Now and Then”

  1. So glad to see content of Qingguo Lane here. My grandmother’s father owned a house in Qingguo back then and they had relationship with Zhao Yuanren’s family. Zhao originated in Daixi, Luoyang Town in Wujin. If you go to Daixi primary school, you will find a monument of Zhao Yi 赵翼, a important poet in Qing Dynasty, who is the ancestor of Zhao yuanren.
    Years ago there was a egg pancake stall near Qingguo Lane, authentic Changzhou style, none in other places. I wonder if it is still there and that’s good as hell. Damn good pancake!–Dale Cooper.

    1. Wow, I didn’t know that about Zhao Yi, but it makes a lot of sense given Zhao Yuanren’s genius. As soon as they do something with his residence, I will be writing a longer essay about him. Meanwhile, I need to go Wujin and see if I can locate that statue. I had been wanting to write more about Qingguo, but I literally couldn’t because of the years of renovation.

  2. There’s another famous person born in Qingguo lane:- Xie Zhiliu. He is one of the great masters and experts of calligraphy and painting. As a citizen of Wuxi, I pay great respect to Mr.Xie for his great favor to Museum of Wuxi. I’ll probably write a blog about him with title “Visit the Museum of Changzhou” but for now I’ve got a lot of other topics to finish… You are welcome to visit and comment if you read Chinese…

    1. Normally, I super delete comments that promote blogs or have embedded links in them. However, I won’t in this case. Post a link to your blog. Baidu and Google translate is a friend. If you are writing about Changzhou, I will find a way to read your content.

      1. Well, it is not a promotion, LOL. Just make a friend… It is quite common in Chinese blogger circle, but of course there is cultural difference. Anyway freedom is all yours…

        I’ll write about Changzhou Museum after I finish writhing Nanjing Museum and some other Jiangsu places nearby. Probably in next few weeks. Time consuming, you know.

        Cheers~

        1. Well, yeah. What I meant is this site gets swarmed by comment bots trying to slip in irrelevant links. Obviously, you’re not a bot! I also do a seldom updated real jiangsu blog and contribute to SupCZ and Open Magazine. So, yeah, I think networking would be mutually beneficial. =)

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