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Kuanzhai Alley in Chengdu

Mia 2023-05-08

Introduction of Kuanzhai Alley

Name in Chinese: 宽窄巷子 (Wide and Narrow Alley)

Location: Downtown Chengdu

Opening hours: early morning to late evening

Duration of visit: 1-3 hours

Ticket price: Free


Kuanzhai Alley is a must-visit attraction in Chengdu that boasts numerous labels: “The business card of Chengdu tourism",“The only three "hutongs" left in the south",  “Chengdu Imperial City established by Emperor Kangxi",  “The most leisurely place in Chengdu”.


Kuanzhai Alley, situated in Qingyang District, Chengdu, comprises of Kuan Alley, Zhai Alley, and Jing Alley. All of these alleys are antique quadrangle courtyards with greenish-blue brick and tile roofs. It is one of the largest surviving ancient streets of the Qing Dynasty in Chengdu and is renowned as one of the three major historical and cultural preservation areas in Chengdu, along with Daci Temple and Wenshu Monastery.


Kuanzhai Alley is a representative sample of Chengdu's "street culture." Kuan Alley has the most complete collection of old buildings in the entire block, where visitors can enjoy a cup of tea, savor authentic Sichuan cuisine, and experience the local customs of old Chengdu. Narrow Alley showcases buildings from the late Qing and early Republican periods, as well as early Western-style buildings, making it an ideal area for Western-style dining, art, and relaxation. Well Alley is a typical representation of folk Chengdu, featuring captivating brick cultural walls, as well as Chengdu's unique snacks and folk toys.


Check out a Chengdu tour including Kuanzhai Alley: Chengdu Tours, Vacations, Day Trips


History of Kuanzhai Alley

After Emperor Kangxi suppressed the Dzungar Rebellion in 1718, he dispatched the Eight Banners soldiers to Chengdu to establish "Mancheng," also known as "Shaocheng."


The Qing government restricted the banner people in Shaocheng from engaging in occupations such as industry, agriculture, or commerce, and confined their activities strictly to Mancheng. As a result, the banner people gradually developed skills such as gardening, flower planting, and bird raising, which cultivated a leisurely lifestyle.


This leisurely lifestyle had a profound impact on the people of Chengdu, giving rise to street cultures such as "tea house culture," "mahjong culture," and "dining culture." At first, there were about 42 alleys in Shaocheng, but now only three alleys, Kuanzhai Alley, Narrow Alley, and Well Alley, remain.



What to see at Kuanzhai Alley

Kailu House's gate is one of the most recognizable gates in Kuanzhai Alley. It is recommended to simply wander around.


The Horse-tying Stone is located on the old wall of the gate at No. 32 Zhai Alley. It has weathered over time and is one of the only three horse-tying stones remaining in Kuanzhai Alley.


Jing Alley's 400-meter-long sculptured wall, which runs east to west, is the first museum in China to use brick as a medium.


A Small Western-style Building that blends Chinese and Western elements. Now it is a Heytea concept store.


Häagen-Dazs, Li Ning, Heytea, and Bubble Mart all have concept stores in the area, selling many city/scenic area exclusive items, such as hotpot cakes, and face painting blind boxes.


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