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The story of Qilou buildings

Updated: 2015-03-19 16:13:45

( Xinhua )

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Combination photo taken on March 31, 2014 shows Qilou buildings, which are out of repair for years in Haikou, capital of South China's Hainan province. Qilou buildings, or arcade-houses, were first popular in Europe and was then introduced to the world. China's first Qilou building was built in Guangzhou, capital of South China's Guangdong province, which is also among the first coastal cities to embrace foreign culture and begin modernization. In the 30s and 40s, the Qilou architecture started to prevail in China's southern parts like Guangdong, Guangxi, Hainan and Fujian, and it gradually became a distinctive architectural feature in these regions. Most of Qilou buildings are usually two or three storied, with a protruding structure, or arcade, stretching above from the second storey over the sidewalk. These arcades are linked together by the side of the street, forming a shaded corridor, which keeps the shops along the sidewalk as well as the pedestrians safe from the scorching sun and rain. Qilou buildings in China, which are used for both commercial and residential purposes, represent a blend of Chinese and western architectural styles. [Photo/Xinhua]

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