Reputed as the best place for the finest examples of baldachin ornate cloths, this ancient alleyway was also identified as the ‘First Street of the Shu Kingdom’ during its heyday. Lined with green flagstones, the structures on both sides of Jinli Alley have been constructed in keeping with the traditional western Sichuan architecture style dating back to the Qing Dynasty. With its characteristic wooden doors, brick walls and lanterns, the entire venue conjures up memories of a bygone era and its simplistic charm.
With its fair share of tea houses and quaint storefronts, one is likely to find a host of folk handicrafts, Shu embroidery works, paintings, lacquer ware and calligraphy that serve as valuable souvenirs of this idyllic locale. Visitors can also enjoy shadow puppet shows and hand puppet skits performed by local artists outside the shops while unique handmade clay figures and paper cut creations with an air of unmistakable antiquity are also available here.
In the centre of Jinli Alley visitors will find a wooden stage where classic Sichuan operas are performed on special occasions. The open-air atmosphere and live folk music also complement these spirited performances while the stage also serves as a drive-in movie theatre for residents. The ancient market is also the venue of choice for local weddings, folk wear fashion shows, sounding night watches and exhibitions of bamboo chairs while bridal sedan chairs are also carried through here.
The eating contest of the Dragon Boat Festival, the Mid-Autumn Festival and the Lantern Festival are also celebrated along Jinli Street which comes alive during festive periods of the Chinese calendar.
Home to innumerable food stalls and quaint restaurants guests can also sample local delicacies and snacks while enjoying the street’s shopping activities. Must-try items include the Sichuan speciality snack San Da Pao, boiled dumplings, rice glueballs and wontons in addition to various treats belonging to the ‘Dishes of Three Kingdoms’.
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