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The Best of Yangzhou in March

As Tang Dynasty poet Li Bai famously wrote, "Go to Yangzhou in March, in the mist of the flowers of spring". During the time of Li Bai, mention of Yangzhou evoked images of prosperity and romance. Today, much of the city's heritage is still alive within its narrow lanes and well preserved family gardens situated in the old town area.

Hundreds of cobbled stone lanes sprawl outwards from the center of Yangzhou's seven square kilometer old town area like tree roots; heading in different directions, overlapping with one another, linking together a number of historical residences along the way. The largest and most visited of these lanes is Guandong Street.

Over 1000 meters in length, the street was once a business hub where people would come to buy their daily supplies, including food and small furniture. Thankfully, this tradition is still alive today, as tourists can find almost every kind of local specialty food and handicraft on offer here.

Small, homey eateries selling steamed buns, sticky rice balls and bean curd snacks open their doors to neighbors and friends living nearby while also welcoming tourists at the same time. A light meal usually costs about ten to twenty yuan; a price as friendly as the places themselves.

Less in number but equally popular are the workshops run by generations of craftsmen which appear around every corner of the street. Yangzhou was a cradle of artists in times past; workshops dedicated to embroidery, paper cutting and lacquer work once flourished here.

And although Guandong Street is usually billed as the essence of historical Yangzhou, what travelers usually end up seeing is the everyday life of the modern day city.

 

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