When Chinese soldiers of the Qing Dynasty returned from war with Tibet in 1718, many of the soldiers and their families based themselves around Kuan-Zhai Lane in the Sichuan city of Chengdu. Though only 3 of the original 42 lanes remain from the period of military housing - Kuan, Zhai, and Jing - these three lanes collectively comprise an area of Chengdu now known to travelers as China’s Lane.
Although the name literally translates to “Wide-Narrow” Lane, both Kuan and Zhai lanes exist as narrow alleyways, with one being imperceptibly wider than the other. Along with the third lane, Jing, these three parallel alleyways are recognized as one of Chengdu’s three historic conservation districts.
Ranking as one of the finest pedestrian thoroughfares in downtown Chengdu, Kuan-Zhai Lane offers a visually pleasing blend of traditional Sichuan architecture fused with modern Chengdu commerce. Dozens of quadrangle homes built in the Qing style stand nestled between fashionable cafés, nightclubs and clothing boutiques; and visitors can sip tea in a traditional tea house on Kuan before grabbing a beer at a trendy bar just one street away over on Zhai. Next door on Jing Lane is a 1,300 foot (3,962.4 meter) long wall that depicts a thousand years of Chengdu history and is an informative complement to the old style architecture and various antiques being sold throughout Kuan-Zhai.
With many modern hotels opening in and around the Kuan-Zhai Lane area there rarely is a shortage of activity in what is arguably one of Chengdu’s most cosmopolitan yet traditional districts.