Shuyuanmen Pedestrian Street
Shuyuanmen Street takes its name from the Academy Gate (Shuyuan Men), named for the long-lost Guanzhong Shuyuan, a prestigious academy on this site. Visit Shuyuanmen Street free of charge, as part of a guided or self-guided walking tour of Xian’s historic center. Shop for calligraphy equipment and finished calligraphy works, paintings and paper-cut art, not to mention jade, jewelry, chopsticks, traditional musical instruments, and more. If you’re serious about shopping, a bilingual guide can help with the essential negotiations, as well as translating calligraphy.
Things to Know Before You Go
Shuyuanmen Pedestrian Street will interest souvenir hunters and lovers of Chinese arts and crafts.
“Antiques” are, without exception, fake.
Shuyuanmen Street is wheelchair-accessible, but stores are typically cramped, with narrow doorways.
How to Get There
Shuyuanmen Pedestrian Street runs between South Street and Anju Alley, just north of the South Gate of the Xian City Wall. It’s an easy walk from many historic Xian attractions, including the Bell Tower, the Great Mosque, and the Muslim Quarter, but you can also reach it by metro to Yongningmen (line 2).
When to Get There
The stores on Shuyuanmen Street generally stay open from morning until evening, and the street is particularly attractive by night, with the illuminated South Gate towering above it. Avoid visiting on major Chinese public holidays, especially Lunar New Year (late winter) and Golden Week (the first week of October).
Chinese Paper-Cut Art
Chinese people have been making paper since at least the second century AD, and paper cutting is an ancient folk art: Some believe the original artists used materials such as leather or thin foil. Huxian County, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) from Xian, is a center of traditional art, including paper cutting. Many of the paper-cut artworks you’ll see on Shuyuanmen Street, however, are mass-produced.
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- South Gate (Yongningmen)
- Xi'an City Wall (Chengqiang)
- Bell and Drum Tower Square
- Drum Tower (Gulou)
- Xian Great Mosque
- Xian Museum & Small Wild Goose Pagoda (Xiaoyanta)
- Tang Dynasty Show
- Guangren Temple
- Shaanxi History Museum
- Big Wild Goose Pagoda (Dayanta)
- Banpo Village
- Muslim Quarter
- Tomb of Emperor Jing Di (Hanyangling)
- Huaqing Palace
- Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor (Qin Shi Huang Tomb)