Dihua street (迪化街) abuzz every Chinese New Year

Dihua St. is packed in the run-up to Chinese New Year, but its fascinating architecture and many great little shops are open year-round. Photo: http://journal.pristine.net

Via pristine.net

The name “Dihua” was given in 1947 by the Republic of China government, in reference to the city of Dihua (now called Ürümqi) in Xinjiang, and effectively joins a string of older streets in this area of Taipei existing prior to the Chinese Civil War. Locals living in the district refer to the portion of the street north of the Minsheng West Road 民生西路 as Dihua North 北街, and the portion south as Dihua south 南街.

Being the oldest street in Taipei (with sections in existence since the rule of Dutch Formosa from 1624–1661), its architecture has been under preservation and conservation efforts by the city.

Modern Dihua Street along with its surrounding neighborhood and streets, known as the Dihua Street commercial loop 迪化街商圈, remain one of the most commercially active in Taipei with transactions in excess of 3 billion US dollars.

Dihua Street 迪化街 is in the Dadaocheng area of Datong District 大同區, Taipei, winding from the south of the district toward the north in the old village of Dalongdong 大龍峒.

The street, then known as Center Street 中街, was constructed during the 1850s, when many commercial entities belonging to Quanzhou-originating owners moved in from the nearby village of Bangka 艋舺.

Since then, and throughout the rest of the 19th century, Dihua Street has been an important center for commerce in Taiwanese products and produce such as Chinese medicinal herbs, fabrics, incense materials, and for the post-processing of Taiwanese tea.

Although a relatively calm street during most times of the year Dihua street bustles with people during the two weeks before Chinese New Year.

The residents of Taipei flock to the street during these times to buy necessities for the festivities, while tourists visit for the traditional Fujian decorations, atmosphere, and architecture.

The street continues to be a major destination during Chinese New Year festivities, with 750,000 people visiting the street in the two weeks leading up to the holiday.

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