A walk through Tianzhu Village

 

Tianzhu Village (天竺村) is probably not a place you would go to if living in central Beijing. You would be more likely to pass by it unknowingly on your way to and from Beijing Capital International Airport.

From the Airport Expressway you can see the bridge that divides the rundown part of Tianzhu from the new and modern part. But you can’t see what is going on just a few meters away.

It’s a five minute walk from one part of Tianzhu to the other, but a world of difference in appearance and experience. The modern part has hotels, such as the Sino-Swiss, and “outlet stores” selling Nike and Adidas products. The old and rundown part has live chicken in the streets.

Following the road under the highway bridge, away from the hotels and shops, and onto Xingfu Steet (幸福街), you’ll find busy market streets, crowds and vehicle repair shops. In the summer, people have moved much of their life out in the open, kids playing at the side of the street. People and cars compete for passage.

Being located under one of the flight paths leading in to the airport, your walk in Tianzhu will be interrupted every few minutes by the sound and sight of jets approaching or leaving the airport.

The bustling activity, and the constant sound of air transports above, gives the impression that this place is either being built up or torn down.