Chinese Name: 三坊七巷景区
English Name: Three Lanes and Seven Alleys; San Fang Qi Xiang
Location: Fuzhou, Fujian
Type: Ancient culture and art
Rating Level: AAAAA (5A)
Three Lanes and Seven Alleys started in the Jin Dynasty 晋代, formed in the Tang 唐 and Five Dynasties 五代, and reached its peak in the Ming and Qing Dynasties 明清. Today, the ancient lanes and alleys are basically inherited. Three Lanes and Seven Alleys are the existing historical and cultural blocks with large scale and complete protection in China. They are reputed as “Living Fossils of China’s Urban Neighborhood System 中国城市里坊制度活化石” and “China’s Ming and Qing Dynasty Architectural Museum 中国明清建筑博物馆”
On June 10, 2009, Three Lanes and Seven Alleys won the honorary title of “China’s Top Ten Historic and Cultural Streets” approved by the Ministry of Culture of the People’s Republic of China and the State Administration of Cultural Heritage.
During the Ming and Qing Dynasties, the Three Lanes and Seven Alleys developed to their peak, and the ancient lanes and alleys were basically inherited. In 2006, Fuzhou comprehensively launched the protection and restoration project of three lanes and seven alleys.
What are worth visiting and seeing？
From the perspective of architectural space processing, the main hall of the three lanes and seven alleys on the central axis is significantly higher, larger, and wider than the north hall, forming a lively and changing spatial pattern with other corridors, pavilions, and other buildings. The hall is generally open and integrated with the patio.
In order to make the hall appear tall, spacious, and open, three lanes and seven alleys generally focus on the treatment of corridors. The purlins supporting the eaves, or a purlin supporting the eaves, are specially made of thick and long high-quality hardwood, and the method of reducing the columns is used to make the hall free of any obstacles, which is rarely seen in northern buildings and other southern buildings.
Following the tradition of building walls in sections at the end of the Tang Dynasty, the houses with three lanes and seven lanes have a high, thick brick or earth walls. The wall is streamlined along with the undulation of the wooden roof frame, and the corner protrudes out of the house like a saddle, commonly known as the saddle wall 马鞍墙.
The wall is only used as the periphery, and its load-bearing function is all in the column. Most of the buildings in the south of the Yangtze River 长江 are stepped gable walls formed by straight lines with 90 degrees of angle. Only a few buildings in Fuzhou have such gable walls. It is generally symmetrical on both sides, and the wall head and corner are painted with clay sculpture, forming the unique wall head style of Fuzhou ancient folk houses.
The most distinctive architectural decoration of the three lanes and seven alleys is the carving of the door and window leaves. Most of the beams and columns of ordinary residents are simple and unadorned, while the doors and windows are carved with great care. Its window lattices are exquisite and the inlaid wood carvings are gorgeous, which is hard for residents in other provinces to match.
The types of window decorations are particularly rich, including tenon-type 卡榫式 patterns, pure wood carved window sashes, and both. It can be said that it is a masterpiece of Jiangnan’s art. In the tenon-type flower leakage, the craftsman carefully arranges it to form different decorative effects, including linear type, curved type, and mixed type. The linear type is dense, the curved type is dynamic, and the mixed type is changeable, and each has auspicious meanings.
Nan Hou Street 南后街 in Fuzhou starts from the Yangqiao 杨桥路 intersection in the west, ends at Jipi Road 吉庇路 in the south, and reaches Macao Bridge 澳门桥, with a total length of about 1000 meters. It is the central axis of “three lanes and seven lanes” in Fuzhou. It has seven lanes on the east side and three lanes on the west side. It was the main commercial street from the rise of three lanes and seven lanes in Fuzhou to the Republic of China. From the north to the south, merchants gathered on the road.
Here, we have everything we need for daily life. There are also book carving workshops, old book stalls, and paper-cut shops for cultural people, as well as lantern markets for the Lantern Festival 元宵节 and the Mid Autumn Festival 中秋节.