Ancient Beijing -- Bridge of Heaven (Beijing Tian Qiao)

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  • Language: Chinese
  • Format: 54 Cards
  • Publication Date: 07/2005
  • Series: Ancient Beijing

The bridge, from which this area takes its name, once located near the Tianqiao Department Store, is long gone. Its white marble slabs and carved balustrades were used to span the famous Dragon Beard Ditch (Longxugou). Ming and Qing emperors had to cross it on their way to the Temple of Heaven, thus giving the bridge its name.

It was after the Revolution of 1911 that the Tianqiao area developed into a market. In 1913, the Northern Warlord government demolished Lotus Lane Market outside Zhengyangmen Gate and shopkeepers set up seven alleys in the area around the former Bridge of Heaven. There were shops specializing in imported goods and watches, establishments of astrologers and fortune – tellers, story–tellers and variety shows, seconds–hand clothing shops and teahouses where men practiced martial arts. Small theaters proliferated; the most famous of them, such as the Dangui (Orange Osmanthus), Tianle (Heavenly Happiness) and Xiaotaoyuan (Small Peach Garden) remained open for decades. A popular attraction at the Bridge of Heaven was the "Eight Great Strange Performers", whose colorful stage names were: Cloud Flyer (Yunlifei), Zhang with His Tube, Big Soldier Huang, Spotted Bear, Little Pigtail Wang, Big Tin Teapot, the Sponge, and Big Gold Teeth.

TianQiao has experienced great change in about forty years. The sense of how TiaoQiao used to be has almost been in people's memory because that most of areas of it turned into residential streets. 

The card with fifty-four artfully preserved and typical photos of old Tianqiao of Beijing reminds us of the scenes of its past as we playing.

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Ancient Beijing -- Bridge of Heaven (Beijing Tian Qiao)