Short Introduction to Jianguomen Outer Street in Beijing
Jianguomen Wai Dajie, which roughly translates as Establishing the Nation Gate Outer Street is a major thoroughfare of the Western City of Beijing. A major six lane boulevard it is found running from west to east through the south-central part of Chaoyang District of Beijing.
As the name indicates Jianguomen Outer Street starts in the west at the place where formerly the Jianguomen Gate of the Ming Dynasty Era (1368 AD - 1644 A)City Walls used to stand. The actual Jianguo Men, the Gate and the city walls connected to it, were demolished in the 1950's when the newly established Peoples Republic of China focussed on the industrialization of city and Nation, thus deciding that there was need for a more open city in which transport and persons traffic could move about
View of buildings and traffic along Jianguomen Outer Street on a sunny day in August of 2007. From left to right; Yintai, IFC Towers and the Beijing Arts & Crafts building.
Apart from being just a wide and important traffic artery in the eastern Chaoyang District of the central city of Beijing, Jianguomen is also one of the oldest roads found outside the city walls in what was up till the year 1949 AD not much more than rural countryside, wasteland and farmland. From Jianguomen Gate, the road lead eastward to follow the trajectory of the historical wonder of the "Grand Canal", ultimately leading to Tongzhou where the Canal had its important branch to Tianjin City and southward via Hebei into Shandong Province.
Connected to the more famous Eternal Peace Avenue in the west, Jianguomen Outer Street is also considered to be a part of the much longer "longest boulevard in Asia entire", the (East) Eternal Peace Avenue of Beijing.
For tourist travelers the Jianguomen Outer Road will be known or at least of major interest for a number of modern architectural wonders which can be beautiful and pleasant to walk among at night, and of course the several renowned shopping addresses of the city.
For most visitors, the one time famous shopping building of the Communist Era "Friendship Store" just outside of the Jianguomen Gate on Jianguomen Outer Street is no longer of interest, however the still renowned tourist magnet and commercial death trap of the so called "Silk Alley", now housed in a large commercial Mall found conventiently located across from YongAnli Subway Station at the
Jianguomen Outer Street in Beijing - Directions - How to Get There:
Since Jianguomen Outer Street is such an important major thoroughfare of the Eastern Chaoyang District, it is generally not hard to lcate on a Map. For reference use the above AsiaReport.com generated google Map of the Street and surrounding area's of interest.
Generally speaking, the Jianguomen Outer Street extends eastward from the location known as Jianguomen which is one of the nodes of the second ring road as well as a major subway station and transfer hub.
As a result, once having located the road and Jianguomen on a Map one could easily travel there either by car, taxi or perhaps the subway transportation system. Less conveniently, one could no doubt find a bus line to travel along Jianguomen Outer Road to your desired destination along either the north- or the south-side of this wide boulevard. You might even drive out all the way to Tongzhou taking in the view along the way.
The most convenient no hassles way to get to Jianguomen Outer Street and explore about is to travel there making use of the subway/metro transportation system. Although buses are cheaper, even in rush hour you would be likely to get there in more comfort and probably speedier by means of the subway.
Basicly the Jianguomen Station is a relic of the first railroad of the city of Beijing which traveled in a circle around on the outside of the City Walls. Today this route is taken up by the subway system and Jianguomen now is a station of two seperate subway lines.
Historically the first of the subway lines traveling through Jianguomen is Line 1, which travels through the north of Tiananmen Square to Jianguomen and beyond.
The second line traveling through Jianguomen is the circular Blue Line 2 which follows the path of the former city walls and moat, traveling around in a circle alike the ancient Jingtai railroad. The Blue Line was recently extended eastward to include several more stations to the east of YongAnli.
Dongdaqiao Road intersection still draws the crowds in daily. Go have a peek inside if you dare. Beware, you better come prepared as an army of professional, highly motivated and well trained hawkers stand ready to empty your pockets out. An experience not for the faint hearted indeed
Altogether taking a stroll along Jianguomen Outer Street is an almost must do experience when allowed the time to explore the Chaoyang District and the east city of Beijing.
The Silk Alley Commercial Building at the Dongdaqiao Intersection with Dongdaqiao Road leading northward to The Place, the Russian Market and other sites of interest nearby.
The LG Twin Towers found just west of YongAnli Subway Station at the Dongdaqiao Intersection and Jianguomen Outer Street.
Full Map of the Beijing Subway System of 2015 AD
- Click Map for FULL Version !
Relevant Chaoyang District Schematic Map
Get on the subway line to travel along Jianguomen Outer Street on the Blue Line. Currently the stations available are from west to east: Jianguomen Station, Yong'Anli Station, GuoMao Station, Dawaglu, Sihui, Shuidong, Gaobeidan and the recently opened Guangbo-Xueyuan, Shuangqiao, Guangzhuang and Baliqiao Stations. Beyond Baliqiao the subway line does not follow the Jianguomen Outer Road nor any extension of it.
Unfortunately, when traveling sub-way you will be underground so you will not be able to catch any of the scenery or spot the address or building you were looking for.
Pick your station carefully and walk the rest of the remaining distance yourself.
Other travel options include hiring a Taxi to get to for instance the well known Silk Alley building and exploring along the road from there. It could be a good walk in the evening after your shopping street and perhaps a romantic diner in the neighborhood.
Heading there by Bus would likely be cheap but uncomfortable. Many lines travel through Jianguomen and equally many along the Jianguomen Outer Road. Last but not least one might explore the length of Jianguomen Road by bicycle, segway or rollerblades. Although the traffic in Beijing has multiplied since the establishment of this website and according bicycling experience, wide lanes for electric bicycles and other vulnerable transports exist on both sides of the multi-lane car traffic. Take off on your rented (?) bicycle to explore several miles east of Jianguomen and see some of the cities modern architecture. See below for what can be seen and found along the route !
A bus passes by on Jianguomen Outer Street. As usual, many passengers are on board.
Jianguomen Outer Street in Beijing today - Sights of Jianguomen Outer Street:
Since Jianguomen Outer Street ...
The well guarded an much overlooked Gate of the south Embassy Diplomatic Compounds along the north side of Jianguomen Outer Street in Beijing.
Blazing evening lights of the LG Twin Towers, one of the more esthethic architectural projects which have sprouted up in the new Millenium along the Jianguomen Outer Street.
The LG Twin Towers were one of the first landmarks of the Central Business District to emerge after the turn of the Millenium. Although a multitude of new locations, landmarks and architectural wonders have sprung up since its construction the towers still mark one of the most interesting and fun parts of the Chaoyang District.
However, following the length of the Jianguomen Outer Road from Jianguomen, one walks eastward and away from the Jianguomen into the rising sun. Follow the pedestrian sidewalks found along the busy boulevard and explore either the north or the south side of the road. Mind you, there are NO pedestrian crossings of Jianguomen Outer Road except for the underpasses which also facilitate the various Subway / Metro Stations along the road which in practice means one has to stick to one side of the road for at least the next 800 meters or more. Select either north- or south side depending upon interest or local destination.
Most wandering tourists and travelers prefer the north side of the boulevard for an evening stroll, as this allows for a good view of the various architectural wonders found standing along Jianguomen Outer Street and of course leads up to a possible visit to the always popular Silk Street Mall building. The Jianguomen Outer Road is also a good place to start a first tour of the Chaoyang District. After seeing a few of the main modern landmarks, one has easy access to shopping at Silk Street and just further up north at The Place or the variety of small boutiques found even further up the road.
The first main intersection of Jianguomen Outer Street is with Dongdaqiao Road which leads northward, but has no southern stretch beyond Jianguomen Outer Street. The location of this intersection is popularly known to locals as Yong Anli, which is also the name of the subway station that lies directly underneath it, its access tunnels - as explained - also providing for convenient crossing underneath Jianguomen Outer Street and its ever present traffic. Among locals, expats and tourists YongAnli almost equals Silk Street, a former street market which used to be located south of Yonganli Intersection in a parellel alley, but has since the beginning of the new Millenium and the drive for development of Chaoyang CBD been housed at the intersection inside a modern type Mall building.
Anyone who has never been to Silk Street should definitely go there to have a look. Other places of interest found at or near YongAnli are of course, the important subway station and transportation hub itself, the Jianguo Hotel (Chaoyang CBD) and the views of the Jianguomen Outer Street skyline with at this point as a main attraction the view of the LG Twin Towers. As already described, from YongAnli one has easy access and going to for instance The Place with its amazing supersize LED Screen, GuanghuaLu Soho, etc.
The next and second main intersection of interest along Jianguomen Outer Street is the Guomao Intersection, which notably is formed by the 3rd ring road (highway artery) passing over Jianguomen Outer Street. This location is known to locals not only as Guomao, with an identically named subway station, but is also dubbed the "Golden Cross" among those involved with the development of the CBD and the economic aspects of the running of the city. In short, the Golden Cross is considered golden because it is the best connected and thus most easily reached location within all of the Central Business District (of Chaoyang). In addition, due to its prime location it is also considered as prime real estate. For the time being, Guomao is seen as one of the most attractive places in Beijing to either take up residence, office or both. Various of the latest and most modern marvels in Beijing today lie at but a stones throw or a walk distance. In addition, for anyone lucky enough to be able to occupy and afford a luxury penthouse apartment or something alike on "the strip" of Jianguomen Outer Street, can count themselves blessed with the best views of the modern architecture of the CBD and all according status attached to just being there and knowing the people. With some active "Guangxi" efforts one might really go somewhere.
Head to Guomao to see the Yintai Towers and Complex up close or to see and explore the massive China World Exhibition Center and China World Hotel found north across the road from Yintai Center on the north west corner of the Golden Cross. On the opposite side of these tow, east of the Guomao intersection stands the cylindrical Traders Mansion Tower.
Guomao station is also a good location from which to walk up to the internationally famous new China Central Television Headquarters, a massive but unusually shaped building which looms high above the CBD in the distance.