Dashilar was for 600 years one of Beijing’s most commercially prosperous, vibrant, and culturally important quarters. Located strategically near Qianmen gate, the main entrance to the inner city, Dashilar straddled royal and civil life. Its proximity to the locus of power, but exclusion from the tight legislation of the Inner City, let Dashilar develop into a vibrant commercial and entertainment precinct; nurturing some of the country’s oldest shops, theatres attributed to the birth of Peking Opera, and the many “Tea Houses” which nefariously even mediated some of China’s domestic and foreign policy. The vibrancy, the greyness of the market, the opportunity for expression; all these were an outcome of a relaxing of the rules of society and state which settled over Dashilar and can be read even in the urban fabric of the area. This kind of freedom attracted some of China’s great cultural figures including celebrated Opera performer Mei Lanfang, and the father of modern Chinese literature Lu Xun.
Ming & QingDynasty
1990 - Present
As a site ofexchange between the old and new cities, as well as between the capital and therest of the nation, Dashilar grew to become the cosmopolitan heart of Beijing.Through the dynasties it continued to grow with incremental developmentsleaving sedimental trace upon one another.