Across China: Traditional cultural elements revitalize old residential community

Culture 25

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JINAN, March 21 (Xinhua) -- Transformed into a cultural and creative block, a dilapidated dormitory area in Jining City of east China's Shandong Province has become a popular landmark this spring.

"It's my dream to make culture a trend," said Zhang Hang, a hipster of the post-80s generation. In September 2022, he gathered several like-minded partners through social media.

It took no more than three months for them to renovate this dormitory area and transform it into a cultural and creative block that integrates various cultural formats such as traditional Chinese hanfu clothing, instruments and music, poetry and wine, local specialty food, and tea ceremony.

"When I'm free, I like to ride my bike into the villages nearby for inspiration and to pick up something old for decoration," said Lin Jie, designer of the block.

Now, people can find many things old and local in the block, such as clay pots, ancient tiles, and bamboo hats. Lin cherishes their unadorned beauty.

The block officially opened on Jan. 14, attracting over 1,000 visitors on average daily.

"I like reading, especially prose. There is a bookstore in the block, and I usually go there for a rest after work," said Wang Siqi, a teacher working for a training institution. "I'm also volunteering there to help the owner of the bookstore and other readers."

"I'm lucky to have about 20 volunteers in my store, and we have become good friends," said Su Dashuo, owner of the bookstore.

"I fell in love with hanfu when I was a child, and I spent almost all of my pocket money on making hanfu," said Wang Youxi, owner of a hanfu store. "I realized my dream to open a hanfu store here, and I hope to show the beauty of traditional Chinese clothing to more people."

"Delicious noodles with Weishan fish balls, please!" Pan Li, owner of a small restaurant along the block, said she sells over 40 bowls of noodles every day. "I want to make local food culture known to people all around the world," she added.

Authorities with the local government said that they will continue to provide young store owners with financial assistance and intellectual support, and promote the creative transformation and development of China's fine traditional culture. ■

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