Chongqing walking trail meanders along old scenic sites
In Chongqing, the city of mountains in Southwest China, walking used to be the major means of transportation for most residents. Since old times, numerous walking trails were developed round the mountains.
Nowadays some of them have been preserved and turned into sightseeing routes to let visitors experience the landscape, life and history of the city.
Mountain City No 3 Walking Trail in the Yuzhong Peninsular is the best example.
The 3.9 kilometer long trail starts at Zhongxing Road by the Shibanpo Yangtze River Bridge, stretches up along the ancient city walls, and ends at Tongyuan Gate, one of the remaining two city gates from the Song Dynasty (960-1279) and the only gate still in use.
Entrance is free and visitors can access the trails from several entrances amid the old alleys.
Along the road, you can overlook the Yangtze River, visit several historical sites and pass by the houses of local residents. When weather permits, people play mahjong or poker by the trail, or sit down and chat with neighbors.
French Benevolence Hall is perhaps the oldest western structure in Chongqing. It used to be a charity hospital, established by the French in 1902. But in 1944 it was turned into a wartime Chinese traditional medicine hospital. The beautifullydesigned building, however, is now almost in ruins and at the remote splendor of its original site visitors are left to ponder happier, grander times.
There are several historical buildings from the World War II era. At Kang Jian Hall, built in 1941, a lot of modern dramas were put on to inspire local people facing imminent invasion by the Japanese. As government officials, warlords and landlords moved to Chongqing during wartime, they built homes in the city and most of them copied western-style houses. Like Hou Lu, a house that used to belong to a warlord.
There is a tiny traditional hotpot place along the trail which only opens at evenings. The kitchen is indoors and two tables are placed just on the road. You can enjoy the stunning night view of the city while eating your hotpot.
Or you can just sit idly in the pavilions, taking in the sunset on the Yangtze River. That exquisite choice is yours.
From left: Walking trails in Chongqing have been preserved and turned into sightseeing routes; a tiny traditional hotpot restaurant and an old bookstore on the Mountain City No 3 Walking Trail on Yuzhong Peninsular.
Top: Xiahao Old Street is a historical residential block on the south bank of the Yangtze River in Chongqing. Above left: The old community in the city, where most senior citizens live, has become attractive to young people. Above right: Architect Xie Peisong, and his cousin Xie Ranran, at their teahouse and studio, Xiao Guan.