The quaint Nanluoguxiang just saw the first May Day holiday after a drastic renovation that has ruled out low-end commercial activities and incorporated more shops with cultural creativity and the characteristics of the old Beijing.
The return of cultural flavor has rejuvenated the old alleys in Nanluoguxian, where the rugged brick road has been turned into smooth green stone road, the outer walls of the shops are tiled with green bricks and the antique wooden plaques have replaced the previous colorful shop signs.
The number of businesses was reduced from 235 to 154. On the main street, the shops featuring cultural creativity and the folk culture experience are highly favored such as sugar-figure blowing, dough figurine and snuff bottles.
The two snack bars once at the southern entrance of Nanluoguxiang have been turned into a folk culture center and the hot pot restaurant at the northern entrance now becomes an exhibition hall of the old Beijing folk art.
From 1990s to 2008, businesses flocked to Nanluoguxiang as it attracted increasing tourists. Lucrative snack bars gradually squeezed away the shops with cultural characteristics.
During October to December last year, a drastic renovation was carried out on the main street of Nanluoguxiang, which banned unlicensed businesses, mandated business licenses and cut restaurant numbers.