Ride around Shichahai and experience the history of the capital


Beijing's Bell and Drum Towers have been a concrete representation of this old city's history over the centuries. If you want to experience the history of the capital while riding, the route along Gulou (the Drum Tower) - Shichahai is a good choice.

When riding bike to Shichahai, you will pass by the oldest commercial streets in Beijing-Yandaixiejie Street halfway. Moving on, the weeping willows along the shore, the lotus flowers in summer, and the ice rinks in winter ...... There are different sceneries in all seasons in Shichahai.

Recommended route: The Bell and Drum Towers→Yandaixie Street→Yinding Bridge→Shichahai

The Bell and Drum Towers

At the northern end of the central axis, the ancient "time buildings"- Bell and Drum Towers are also continuing the story of old Beijing. The Bell Tower in the north and the Drum Tower in the south, have been looking at each other for hundreds of years.

Not long ago, the first floor of Drum Tower was restored to its original appearance after being vacated and repaired, then opened to the public for the first time. A new digital immersive exhibition was unveiled with the theme of "The Story of Time", inviting the public to enter this ancient "time building" and listen to the echoes of history.

Walking into the first floor of the Drum Tower, you can see seven arches distributed in the shape of Chinese character "Feng", which are connected to each other, bright and open. Each arches has been given a new "identity" - they became exhibition halls with different themes.

The interactive architectural space of the central arch has been transformed into a full immersive theater. The audience will gather here by following the sound of the bells and drums, while the curtains rising, the lights dimming, and the prompt tone sounding in the hall. Traditional cultural elements such as the stars and constellations, the twenty-four solar terms, and ancient Chinese poetry and prose will be presented one by one, taking the audience to appreciate the wisdom of timekeeping and historical changes in the Bell and Drum Towers, and to feel the passage of time in the central axis of Beijing ......

Warm reminder: The Bell and Drum Towers are currently closed to the public.

Yandaixie Street 

From Di'anmenwai Street to the west, there is a small street sloping from northeast to southwest, 232 meters in length, known as the Yandaixie Street, meaning Skewed Tobacco Pouch Street. What is the connection between this small street and the tobacco pipes? Firstly, in the late Qing Dynasty, the street was filled with stores dealing with long-stemmed Chinese pipes, hookahs and other smoking paraphernalia, whose business was booming. They made a deep influence on the street. Secondly, Yandaixie Street is a long and thin street shaped like a tobacco pipe, the east entrance like the suction nozzle of the tobacco pipe, the west end turns south in the direction of the Yinding Bridge, which looks like the pot of the tobacco pipe.

Today, Yandaixie Street has been awarded the title of "Chinese historical and cultural street" by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the National Cultural Heritage Administration. Walking along this antique and quaint pedestrian street, those stores dealing with paper-cutting, pottery, clay figurines making, sugar-figure blowing and special snacks make people really feel the rich atmosphere of Beijing culture and folk culture.

Yinding Bridge

Yinding Bridge is located on the waterway between Qianhai (Front Sea) and Houhai (Back Sea) in Shichahai, which is a single-hole stone arch bridge running north to south. In the past, standing on the Yinding Bridge, one could see the Western Hills, and the "Viewing the Western Hills on Yinding Bridge " became one of the "Eight Sights of Yanjing (Beijing)". Nowadays, the Yinding Bridge is also a must-see place for people visiting Shichahai, where they can not only stroll and view the scenery, but also enjoy the authentic Beijing-Flavor cuisine in the restaurants by the bridge.

When the weather is fine, walking up the Yinding bridge in Shichahai and looking to the northwest, the beauty of the distant Western Hills can be seen, while the water near is shimmering, known as "Eight Sights of Yanjing" one of the " Viewing the Western Hills on Yinding Bridge" historical landscape reappears. Once, the new north building of Jishuitan Hospital blocked part of the ridgeline of the distant Western Hills, affecting the view of the hills from the bridge. In 2021, in order to protect the Old City, Jishuitan Hospital took the initiative to reduce the number of beds and demolished the 11-story high building. After deconstruction and treatment, the landscape visual corridor was restored.


Shichahai is named for the ten temples that used to be around it, and used to be named Haizi in the Yuan Dynasty, then it was a wide and long lake surface, which was reduced in the early Ming Dynasty and gradually formed into three lakes, consisting Xihai (West Sea), Houhai (Back Sea) and Qianhai (Front Sea), and the waterways of the three lakes connected to each other. Since the Qing Dynasty. Shichahai has become a summer resort for recreation. Green waves are rippling on the three lakes, shaggy willows droop over the water along the shore, the distant mountains are in green and gently rolling, gorgeous and beautiful scenery is in your eyes, all these make Shichahai one of the wonderful attractions of Yanjing(Beijing).

Shichahai, a historical and cultural tourism scenic spot and a historical and cultural reserve in Beijing, is adjacent to the central axis of Beijing city. It covers a water area of 336,000 square meters, and is connected with Zhongnanhai (Central and Southern Seas), which is the only open scenic spot with open water in the inner city of Beijing, and is also the largest historical district with the most complete features in Beijing, occupying a unique position in the history of Beijing city’s planning and construction.

The scenery of Shichahai is so charming and unique that the famous Chinese ancient book Dijing Jingwulue (A Brief Introduction to the Scenery of the Imperial Capital) praises the charm of Shichahai with the words "Spring in West Lake, Summer in Qinhuai River, Autumn in Dongting Lake". Along the shores of Shichahai, the Chinese white marble balusters and railings and ancient Chinese buildings are reflected in the green waves, making it a water area with great cultural characteristics and lively vitality in Beijing.