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Shikumen

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Shikumen, literally meaning "Stone Warehouse Gate", is regarded as the most representative house style of Shanghai, with Hutongs and Courtyards being representative of Beijing. It is so named due to the stone door frame. This sort of residence combines the architecture styles of southern China and western countries.


These residences can date back to the 1870s, when the Taiping Rebellion against the domination of the Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911) broke out. Due to the turbulent warfare, the businessmen, ministers and wealthy people had to move to the concession for protection. As a result, many foreign estate businessmen had a large number of residences built to earn money. Those residences were therefore inspired by western styles.


This local culture had a great influence on Shanghai's politics, economy, literature, arts and lifestyle. The literature school of "Ting Zi Jian" was born at the same time. Later the scholars created a large number of masterpieces. Similarly, the architecture also provided abundant opportunities for art creativity so that many movies and music works were made on their background. What's more, due to their complicated and diverse residences, the local inhabitants formed a distinct lifestyle, which laid a solid foundation for their diverse costumes, dieting habits and life habits.