|Chengdu Folk Park
|8am - 5:30pm|
|Flyover, Sect. 4 South Renmin Rd., 2nd Ring Rd. (beneath flyover, next to Kempinski’s Hotel)|
|028 8676 1155|
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Mark Hiew (more chengdu)|
Established in 2001, and steadily redeveloped, Chengdu Folk Park is a haven of calm beneath a torrent of traffic. An art center/tea house/canal leisure space, it’s as much a testament to the city’s love for traditional ways as it is a shining example of reclaimed humanity and innovative mixed-space design. It re-imagines the possibilities of a crowded flyover—traditionally an unpleasant place to linger—filling it with the culture-soaked, atmosphere that enchants so many visitors to Chengdu.
In fact, the park designer, Damao Zeng, was given a gold award by the city’s metropolis planning and construction management department. Along the South Renmin Road section runs a man-made canal dotted with miniature arch bridges. Perpendicular, along the 2nd Ring Road section, lie an art center, filled with calligraphy, paintings, Cultural Revolution curios, exercise equipment, lovely hanging greenery, and bamboo. Life-like statues of period characters—children playing with yo-yos, a man sawing timber—fill the empty space with a playful cheer. In the center of it all lie several tea houses, with gray-hairs and workers alike chatting merrily around chess sets.
Most surprising perhaps, is that most of the time, the park is actually fairly quiet. Occasionally though, the blare of horns pierces the tranquility, reminding you that you are, indeed, located directly beneath hundreds of zooming vehicles. In the evenings, local dance and drumming troupes can be spotted performing, attracting surprisingly large crowds. In the mornings, retirees exercise on bright plastic apparatus, though one does have to wonder how well the greenery counteracts so much carbon dioxide.
When you’re next in the area, (It’s located close to a number of popular venues like the Bookworm and Kempinski’s.) linger beneath the overpass to browse the art, sip some cha and marvel at the way modern infrastructure and traditional ways interact so uniquely. The Folk Park is surely one of Chengdu’s most iconic and exemplary hidden spaces.