I recently travelled along the Shenyang-Dalian Expressway (also known as the Shenda Expressway) in Liaoning province, China. This is a 400km motorway from Shenyang, in central Liaoning province, to Dalian, which is at the southernmost tip of the Liaodong peninsular. My destination was the beautiful Jinshitan scenic area of northeast Dalian and the Golden pebble beach, known as Jinshitan (金石滩).
Having some knowledge of Dalian’s historical past, I was equally keen to track down and visit Japanese and Russian built heritage. My search began at Zhongshan Square, in the centre of Dalian city.
Zhongshan Square was built in 1898 and called Nikolayevskaya Square. Following the the first Sino-Japanese war and various treaties, in particular the Triple Intervention (1895) and the ‘Pavlov Agreement’ (1898), Russia acquired a 25-year lease on Dalniy (Russian name for Dalian) and Lüshun ( Port Arthur) from the Qing Dynasty. A few years later, following the Russo-Japanese war and the signing of The Treaty of Portsmouth (5 Sep 1905), Japan replaced Russia, in China, as leaseholder. Dalniy was renamed Dairen by the Japanese, and Nikolayevskaya Square was renamed Dai hiroba (大広場), or Large square. Following the end of the Second World War, the Square was renamed Zhongshan Square, after Sun Zongshan, the Republic of China’s first president.
There follows, some of my photography taken in and around Zhongshan square. These heritage buildings were built during periods of Russian and Japanese administration or occupation of the Liaodong peninsular (Kwantung Leased Territory).
The order of the buildings is purely photographic, one of presentation!
The Bank of China, formerly the Yokohama Specie Bank (横浜正金銀行), a Japanese bank founded in 1880, Yokohama, Japan. This building dates from 1909. It later became the Soviet Union Far East Bank (1945-1955).
The Dalian Hotel, formerly the Dalian Yamoto Hotel (大和旅馆), built in 1914. Owned and operated by the South Manchuria Railway Company (1910-1940s).
The Dalian Post Office, formerly the Kwantung Bureau of Communications (关东逓信局), built in December 1917.
The Citibank, Dalian branch, was formerly the Dalian Police Station (大連民政署). It was built 1908, under the auspices of the Kwantung administration.
Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Dalian branch no.1, formerly Bank of Korea (朝鮮銀行), Dalian branch. Built in December 1920, its financial stock was owned by Japanese banks and companies.
The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Dalian branch no.2, was formerly Dalian City Hall (大連市役所). It was built in 1919, under the auspices of the Kwantung administration.
The Dalian People’s Culture Club (大连人民文化俱乐部), a concert hall. Led by a Soviet design team it was completed in 1952, and renovated in 1995 and again in 2008.
Whilst not central to the narrative, the following modern building located at no.3 Zhongshan Square Square is presented as an example of Chinese architectural heritage and for completeness.
Dalian Financial Building (大连金融大厦). This was built in 2000, on the site of the former British Consulate General’s building (1914). The new building is occupied by branches of Shanghai Pudong Development Bank (上海浦东发展银行) and China Guangfa Bank (广发银行).
Leaving Zhongshann Square and walking northwards along Minsheng Street, this beautiful building is located at no.59 Minsheng Street.
Hongji Grand Stage (宏济大舞台) established in October 2010, and home to Dalian Peking Opera Theatre.
During Japanese rule, and from 1911, it was the site of Tianfu Tea Garden later renamed Yongshan Tea Garden. In 1925, the Dalian People’s Organisation held a meeting in solidarity with the Shanghai worker anti-imperialist strikes. This building dates from February 1934, when it became the Hongji Stage. After 1945, and for a time, it was taken over by the Dalian Municipal Government.
A taxi ride away and still in the Zhongshan district, is Qiqi Street.
Qiqi Street is a Japanese-style street, with a number of Japanese buildings.
The Russian cultural area of Dalian is located near Shengli Bridge, in Xigang district. The southernmost end of Russian Street is just north of Shengli Bridge.
The Dalian Art Gallery, formerly the Dalniy Library was built in 1908 on what was then called Engineer Street. This is the oldest street (1898) in Dalian.
In Russian Street, there appears to be a former Russian Orthodox Church, but there are no further details. During the mid 1990s there was considerable renovation, and a number of new buildings were constucted in the Russian style, by the then Mayor of Dalian, Bo Xilai. As a consquence, some history has been lost in this area and some reinvented!
I did not manage to photograph all the heritage buildings that have survived, from the periods of Japan and Russia administration and occupation of China. Perhaps another time?
© 2019 Dr Robert Frew. All rights reserved.