Shichahai (meaning the lake of ten temples) dates back to the Jin Dynasty, nowadays it is an important commercial district and is also a famous scenic spot in Beijing, near the north-gate of the Beihai Park. The borders of the three lakes are lined by tall trees, coffee shops, bars and little shops. In the summer the lakes are covered with boats paddling tourists about, when they are frozen in the winter many people come to ice-skate. In 1992 the municipal government of Beijing declared the district an "Historical and Cultural Scenic District". We began in the skinny streets lined with shops of every kind from fans, toys, rugs, take-away, even an old post office. Then a bimble across the Yinding Bridge which is at the junction of Qianhai and Houhai. The bridge is listed as a cultural relic. Building of the bridge began in the Ming Dynasty, Yinding means silver ingot. In 1984, the dilapidated bridge was renovated to white marble, renovated again in 1990 to concrete and marble. Oxford punting it was not, too many people and too much noise, but for China it was a pleasant bimble. It was amusing to see the log-jam as boatmen tried to go under the bridge all-at-once.......but it was sad to see the amount of Styrofoam and other rubbish at the bottom of the shallow lakes....... We finished out on the main road and headed back to our digs with very sore feet.
ALL IN ALL A COLOURFUL, GREAT PLACE TO BIMBLE
VERY BUSY, ORGANISED TOURIST AREA