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798 Art District Beijing

Listed under Art Collections in Beijing, China.

  • Photo of 798 Art District Beijing
  • Photo of 798 Art District Beijing
  • Photo of 798 Art District Beijing
  • Photo of 798 Art District Beijing
  • Photo of 798 Art District Beijing
  • Photo of 798 Art District Beijing
  • Photo of 798 Art District Beijing
  • Photo of 798 Art District Beijing
Photo of 798 Art District Beijing
Photo by flickr user nozomiiqel
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With more than a half dozen World Heritage temples and palaces on the standard Beijing itinerary one would be forgiven for thinking that the capital lives only in the past. For the more progressive culture vulture there is a fascinating and relatively little known modern art district to the north east of the city center.

The area known as "Dashanzi" (大山子) in the Chaoyang district was until only a few years ago nothing more than an ugly and mostly abandoned factory complex. All this changed when a few intrepid modern artists sought refuge from the expensive city center and took up residence in some of Dashanzi's warehouses. Word spread quickly within the art community and within two years a small army of painters, photographers, sculptors and musicians occupied a seemingly endless number of ateliers and studios. With the artists came the art cafes and restaurants and with them a die hard fan base of this modern art stronghold.

While more guidebooks and tour companies are onto the Dashanzi secret the area still has an authentic feel to it as most tour groups don't have the time to include this gem in their run of the mill Beijing itinerary. The area is heaven for the artistically inclined wifi junkie with a number of trendy bars and cafes to while away the hours. Families will find in Dashanzi a perfect place to spend an afternoon with broad walking lanes and plenty of colourful exhibitions to keep the little ones interested. Art buyers are often spotted in the area no doubt tracking down the latest and greatest new works.

For the independent visitor a taxi from the city center should set you back no more than 30 to 40 RMB. Buses run from the downtown area but can be more hassle than the savings are worth.

Written by  Marc Mekki.

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