Qilou Old Street

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Chinese name: 骑楼老街(Qilou Laojie)
Location: No.60 Zhongshan Road, Longhua District, Haikou, Hainan Province, China
Opening time: all day long
How to get there: Take bus 3, 5, 6, 7, 14 in downtown Haikou and get off at Zhonglou station.
Best time for visit: all year round
Recommended time for a visit: 2-3 hours

Introduction to Qilou Old Street
Located in Haikou, Hainan Province, Qilou Old Street is one of the Chinese famous historic streets. It features a stylish fusion of European and Asian architecture, as well as Indian and Arabic influences. Qilou, or Chinese arcade houses form the city's most exotic landscapes, and they can principally be found on Bo'ai Street, Zhongshan Street, Xinhua North Street, Deshengsha Street and Jiefang Street. 

Haikou’s Qilou Old Street is the most impressive example of arcade architecture in all of China. To some extent, it is also the symbol of Haikou. The Qilou area has witnessed the many vicissitudes that have affected the city in the past century; it has also benefitted – architecturally and commercially – from the deeply-rooted love felt for their home town by the overseas Chinese from Southeast Asia. A stroll along the hundred-year-old street, with its echoes of history, gives visitors a taste of traditional Haikou life. 
Haikou is striving to turn Qilou Old Street into a commercial center as well as a cultural tourism and shopping center. It is expected to become a new popular spot in Haikou. 

History of Qilou Old Street
With its origins dating back around 2,000 years to ancient Greece, arcade architecture was introduced to Haikou by overseas Chinese merchants from 1820-1840. Standing between two and four stories in height, a Qilou has its ground floor set back halfway into the building so that it can be used as a storefront to take shelter from rain and sunlight. The upper floors serve as the living quarters, and extend over the pavement supported by columns. The exquisite carvings and decorations on the handrails, door frames and window frames are in the Baroque style. 

In total, there are more than 200 Qilou buildings in the street, including 39 by Zhongshan Street. The oldest building, Sipai Building, dates back some 600 years to the Southern Song Dynasty. 

Historically, the street has housed consulates, churches post offices, banks and chambers of commerce belonging to 13 different countries. Today, it remains Haikou's business center whilst also giving visitors a taste of traditional Haikou life.