Do you often ride a subway? What we will talk about is the station names we commonly see along the lines of the Beijing Subway, but many of which conceal interesting stories.
Sihui East - Sihui - Dawanglu - Guomao - Yonganli - Jianguomen - Dongdan - Wangfujing - Tian’anmen East - Tian’anmen West - Xidan - Fuxingmen - Nanlishilu - Muxidi - Military Museum - Gongzhufen - Wanshoulu - Wukesong - Yuquanlu - Babaoshan - Bajiao Amusement Park - Gucheng - Pingguoyuan
Sihui: The station is named after the East Fourth Ring Road and Tonghui River.
Dawanglu: The station is named after Dawanglu. It is said a family surnamed Wang lived around the Dawanglu. The road of Dawanglu thus got its name. The subway station is actually built at Bawangfen, the tomb of Nurhachi’s 12th son. It was thought the tomb is inelegant as a name, so the subway station is named after the neighboring Dawanglu.
Guomao or the World Trade Center near Yonganli Station [Photo/Qianlong]
Yonganli: Yonganli takes the meaning of settling down peacefully forever. In early days of and before the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, Yonganli was the eastern suburb of Beijing where crops were grown.
Jianguomen, Fuxingmen: There was never a men or gate built at Jianguomen or Fuxingmen though either of the two stations has a gate in its name. The two places called as a gate has a short history of only more than 60 years. In 1939, Japanese occupied Beijing. In order to build a so-called industrial zone in eastern suburb and a “New Beijing” in western suburb, they tore down two sections of city wall at what are now known as Jianguomen and Fuxingmen respectively. But no formal gate was ever built at the two locations. Today there are built stations and Jianguomen Bridge.
Dongdan, Xidan: The names of the two stations are all originated from pailou (a decorated archway of Chinese ancient architecture). Xidan is named after the west single pailou to west of Tian’anmen while Dongdan after the east single pailou to east of Tian’anmen. The west pailou was burned to the ground during war in 1900. Xidan or Dongdan is shorten from Xidan pailou or Dongdan pailou.
Wangfujing: The name Wangfujing comes from a palace of prince and a well. Wangfu refers to the palace of the tenth prince during the reign of Yongle from 1403 to 1424. And at the time, there was sweet well around.
Tian’anmen East, Tian’anmen West: Both of the two stations are named after the Tian’anmen. Tian’anmen was called Chengtianmen which made clear to the people that the emperor “bears the decree of the God, and receive instructions from the heaven”. It has been renamed as Tian’ammen since 1651 by Qing’s Emperor Shunzhi, bestowing an extra meaning of long-term peace and order.
Nanlishilu: The station is named after the road name of the Nanlishilu. Nanlishilu was a “donkey market” and the main road to the Temple of the Moon. In the past, transportation was not as convenient as it is today. It heavily relied on mules, horses and donkeys.
Muxidi: Muxidi means a place where osmanthus is grown. It was a vegetable field belonging to the Baiyunguan Temple and was known for growing daylily. The golden color of the flowers was similar with that of osmanthus, so the place was mistakenly thought of growing osmanthus and thus got its name.
Gongzhufen: The name of the station implies it is a tomb of some princess. And yes it was. Princess Zhuangjing and Princess Zhuangshu was ever buried here before the station was built.
Wanshoulu: The name of station is named after a pagoda call Wanshou. It is located in the Cishou Temple that was built in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).
Wukesong: Wukesong is the Chinese expression of five pine trees. The place of the Wukesong Station was the graveyard of Shaoying, a provincial commander-in-chief of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). In his graveyard, there were five pine tress.
Yuquanlu: The station is named after Yuquanlu, a road faces to the Yuquan Mountain to its north end.
Babaoshan: Babaoshan Station gains its name because of the Babaoshan Mountain or Eight-Treasure Mountain. According to the Shijingshan District Gazetteer, the mountain ever put out eight kinds of minerals.
Bajiao Amusement Park: The Bajiao Amusement Park is another name of the Shijingshan Amusement Park. The subway station is named after it. It is said in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) eight families of Qian, Zhao, Yue, Kong, Qi, Wang, Mei, Xiao fled from Hongtong County of Shanxi and settled down here to form a village called Bajia. Bajia is pronounced as Bajiao in Hongtong dialect.
Pingguoyuan: Pingguoyuan means apple orchard in Chinese. The place where the station sits was an apple orchard covering an area of 100 mu owned by a eunuch called Liu in the Ming Dynasty(1368-1644).
The Ming City Wall Site Park [Photo/Qianlong]
Xizhimen - Chegongzhuang - Fuchengmen - Fuxingmen - Changchunjie - Xuanwumen - Hepingmen - Qianmen - Chongwenmen - Beijing Railway Station - Jianguomen - Chaoyangmen - Dongsishitiao - Dongzhimen - Yonghegong Lama Temple- Andingmen - Guloudajie - Jishuitan
Xizhimen: Xizhimen was called Yimen in the Yuan Dynasty (1271 - 1368). It was the gateway to the west mountainous area. It consisted of a gate tower, a watchtower and a barbican entrance. The gateway was demolished in 1969 when the subway was built. It was a significant archaeological discovery during the demolishing that the watchtower of Yuan Dynasty(1271 - 1368) was wrapped into the watchtower of Ming Dynasty .
Chegongzhuang: Chegongzhuang literally means a village of the Che’s family. But it has nothing to do with someone or family who called Che. It was called Cheguluzhuang or Chegulu Village in the past which means a village that makes vehicle wheels. As time goes, it is called homophonically Chegong village or Chegongzhuang.
Fuchengmen: It was called Pingzemen in the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) and renamed as Fuchengmen in 1439.
Changchunjie: The station gains its name from the road of Changchunjie. Changchunjie is originated from the Changchun Temple built 1592. It was a dweller of Empress Dowager Xiaoding. Changchun takes the meaning of a good health and a long life.
Xuanwumen: Xuanwumen was an inner city gate. Xuanwu means publicizing military accomplishments.
Hepingmen: Hepingmen was a city gate that ever sat between Xuanwumen and Qianmen. It takes the meaning of peace.
Qianmen: Qianmen is a colloquial name of Zhengyangmen, the front gate of the Forbidden City. While the Di’anmen is the back gate of the Forbidden City.
Beijing Railway Station [Photo/Qianlong]
Beijing Railway Station: the Beijing Railway Station was firstly built in 1901. The name of the railway station 北京站was inscribed by Chairman Mao Zedong.
Chaoyangmen: Chaoyangmen was ever named Qihuamen. It was called Chaoyangmen in Zhengtong reign (1436 to 1449) of the Ming Dynasty. It was known as a gate where crops were transported into the Forbidden City. In 1900, the stone inscription in the gate was destroyed by the Eight-Power Allied Forces. After the founding of the People’s Republic of China, the gate was demolished for the advantage of transportation and then a flyover has since been built.
Dongsishitiao: Dongsishitiao was ever a hongtong in sequence of number 10.
Dongzhimen: Dongzhimen was firstly built in the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368). The gate was called Chongrenmen at the time. It was rebuilt in the early Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and has been called Dongzhimen since the reign of Hongwu (1368-1398). The gate was dismantled during the construction of the Beijing Subway in 1970. In 1980, a flyover was built at its site.
Yonghegong Lama Temple: Yonghegong is the biggest one among the existing Lama Temples in Beijing. It was the mansion of emperor Yongzheng (1678-1735) of Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).
Andingmen: Andingmen was a gate where troops came in and out. It was built in the reign of Hongwu (1368-1398) and dismantled during the construction of the Beijing Subway.
Guloudajie: The station of Guloudajie is named after the road of Guloudajie. The 700-year-old street is on the central axis of Beijing and gained its name from drum tower.
Jishuitan: Jishuitan Station is named after the lake of Jishuitan. The lake was formed by Tonghui River and was the general wharf and a royal pool for washing elephants. From the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) elephants from Russia and Myanmar were used as transportation tools and court honor team. During the summer, they were brought here to take a bath.