Most people in Zhangzhou didn’t even know there was an old town in Zhangzhou.
The elderly drank tea on the street sitting in bamboo armchairs, with tiny glass teapots heated by paraffin burners. Shops were family owned with a number of crafts being practiced which have disappeared from more modern Chinese city-scapes.
Most famous was the puppeteer, Mr Zhang who is now a nationally listed UNESCO treasure.
A few streets are paved with ancient stone slabs. There are ornate gateways from the Qing and Ming dynasty that memorialize prominent scholars.
The Zhangzhou Confucian temple is a sister in age and style to Beijing’s famed temple. Until recently, it was used as the Old Town’s primary school.
When these photos were taken in 2014, the international port style architecture of the town was picturesquely crumbling, baroque influences from Europe and India suggesting that this was a city tlong connected to the outside world .
I wrote to Liz, a friend who showed me around her town – the old town.
Is it still gorgeous, I we chatted her this morning.
“No. Brand new now.” she wrote back.
I’m not sure what this means.
Lots of new cafe’s in renovated buildings I suspect.