A grand visual banquet awaits you at the Southern Song Imperial Street from June to August this summer. A multitude of night parades including“Story of Imperial street”, “World of Imperial Street”, “Qixi Festival” (the Chinese traditional Valentine’s day, celebrated on the 7th July according to the lunar calendar) of Imperial Street”, will be staged.
Lin’an, the capital of China in the Southern Song Dynasty(1127-1279),is present Hangzhou. In the Southern Song Dynasty, every three years, the emperor conducted a 3-day ceremony. He was escorted to Jingling Temple (景灵宫) through the Southern Song Imperial Street, where he had a vegetarian meal and offered sacrifices to the ancestors. After spending one night in the Jingling Temple, he went to the Imperial Ancestral Temple (near drum Tower) to worship the ancestors. After 1-night-stay in the temple, he then held a ceremony to worship the heaven in Jiaotan (郊坛: an altar set in the suburb), and went back to the Imperial Palace after another night spent in the temple outside the city.
The Imperial Street was also important to the commoners at that time because it was a hub of commence, home to hundreds of stores, and almost a half population of Lin’ An City.
The Imperial Street was divided into three sections in the Southern Song Dynasty.
The first section streched from Wansong Mountain(万松岭) and ended in Drum Tower (鼓楼) . This area was the political centre of Lin’an. Most residents living in this section were royal relatives or imperial court officials, who had the greatest purchasing power. For these reasons, merchandises sold in this section of the street mostly were luxury goods such as gold, silver and jewelries.
The second section streched from Drum Tower and ended at Zhong’An Bridge (众安桥), with Yangba Tou（羊坝头） and Guan Xiangkou(官巷口)as the centerpieces and nexuses of trade. Most shops there sold daily necessities. According to Mengliang Lu
(梦梁录)，a book about folk customs and art of Lin’an in the South Song Dynasty), around 120 time-honored shops crowded this section.
The third section streched from Zhong’an Bridge(众安桥) to Wulin Road, Fengqi Crossing (武林路凤起路口).This is a block combining business, culture and entertainment at that time. Beiwa (北瓦) located in this area, was the biggest entertainment center in Lin’an at that time. People can enjoy performances day and night, including poetic dramas, puppet shows, shadow plays and storytelling etc. Back then, there were several thousand citizens coming here to relax every day.