Historical Buildings Hidden in a Mysterious City (2)

Last week, we started our journey of searching historical buildings in Hangzhou so, now let’s continue to find out some little-known stories behind some of these historical masterpieces.

Zhejiang Shengli Theater

Located on a most densely-populated road, YanAn Road, and beside the West Lake, Zhejiang Shengli Theater (which in Chinese means victory) impresses visitors with its imposing name. Whereas it looks rather old-fashioned now, the theater was, in fact, on trend decades ago.

Zhejiang Shengli Theater was built by a Shanghai film company and Hangzhou businessmen in 1935, and with 1170 seats, the theater used to be the most well-equipped movie theater of that time.

At the theater opening ceremony, Lingyu Ruan, who was, back then, a very popular movie star was invited to participate in the event and one of her movies “Goddess”, was premiered in the theater that day. However, from the 1950s, Zhejiang Shengli Theater gradually transformed from a movie theater to an opera house, where many celebrities used to gather and enjoy operas and, as a result, the saying “why not come to Shengli to watch operas?” was spread among opera enthusiasts.

As time goes by, Zhejiang Shengli Theater has become the time-honored historical building that we all know and love today.

Hangzhou Huawu Orchard

The name “Hangzhou Huawu Orchard” is probably only familiar to old natives of Hangzhou, because, at present, it has become a deserted land. The orchard used to be a farm for sheltering habitual loafers and then, after reformation, it became a local state-owned orchard cultivating fruit trees like peach, pear and grape, most of which were nurtured by the professors from the College of Agriculture and Biotechnology at Zhejiang University.

Today’s younger generation cannot imagine how much importance was attached to labor production during that period and this is also why this place stores old memories of an older generation of locals.

Hangzhou’s history and old memories are cherished and stored within these historical buildings and with a simple brick or tile, we can travel back in time.