Introduction (3) - Lost Rivers

It may come as a surprise to many Beijingers that the city has "invisible" rivers flowing right through it. Hover the mouse over the map to locate the lost rivers described below.

The easiest one to find and locate is the former river, which entered the city south of Xizhimen and flowed slowly south-southwest all the way to Xunwumen Xidajie, emptying into the (then) southern moat around the main city.

Too easy? Ok, then find the river, which carried the water from Jishuitan port to the eastern wall around the Imperial City! This river used to be one of the prime waterways that secured a large flow of goods to imperial Beijing.

Here's a tough one. Where was the river that ran parallel to Houhai Lake and passed right in front of Prince Gong's mansion? Been there, haven't you? And you didn't recognize the old river bed...

Haven't given up yet? Fine, then track the river, which ran from Chunsu in southern Beijing, caressed the northern perimeters of Xiannong and Temple of Heaven, formed Longtan Lake and emptied into the southern moat of the South City.

Difficult? Here's a hint: It passes right by Hongqiao Market -also known as "The Pearl Market". Never noticed, huh? Last hint: Tianqiao -or Heavenly Bridge. But there is no bridge at Tianqiao, you'd say. Well, there used to be a bridge where Qianmen Boulevard crossed this river -now flowing underground.

And what about the infamous "Jade Canal"? The canal, which traversed the area occupied in the late 1800s by the foreign legations, and which played a pivotal role during the so-called Boxer War in year 1900?

Let's end this page with an easy one: The downtown Changpu River. The what? Yes, Changpu River! The one on the first introductory page. This river used to be one of the two most important rivers inside Beijing -the other one being the Inner Golden Water River inside The Forbidden City. Still don't know it?

Changpu River was boarded over in the early 1960s, but in August 2002 it was allowed to flow freely above ground again. The municipal government even adorned this resurfaced stream with a nice park, bridges and pavilions. It is only some 500 meters long but you can enjoy the scenery just east of Tiananmen Gate behind the Imperial City wall. Place you mouse here to locate it on the map above -look carefully!

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