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.
Tiantongyuan North-Tiantongyuan-Tiantongyuan South-Lishuiqiao-Lishuiqiao South-Beiyuanlu North-Datunlu East-Huixinxijie Beikou-Huixinxijie Nankou-Hepingxiqiao-Hepinglibeijie-Yonghegong Lama Temple-Beixinqiao-Zhangzizhonglu-Dongsi-Dengshikou-Dongdan-Chongwenmen-Ciqikou-Tiantandongmen-Puhuangyu-Liujiayao-Songjiazhuang
Songjiazhuang: The station got its name for being in the neighborhood of Songjiazhuang. A man surnamed Song used to grow vegetables here and many people came to buy his vegetables due to their many varieties, low price and freshness. Songjiazhuang (Song Family Village) gradually formed later.
Liujiayao: Liujiayao (Liu Family Kiln) was a kiln was founded by a man surnamed Liu during the reign of Emperor Guangxu in the Qing Dynasty. The earthen pots produced by the kiln were of high quality and good design and thus they were popular among customers.
Tiantandongmen: Temple of Heaven (Tiantan Park) is the largest extant sacrificial temple complex in China. The station is close to the east gate (dongmen) of Tiantan Park.
Ciqikou: Ciqikou gained its name for two china (“ciqi” in Chinese) shops opened in the street which enjoyed great prosperity and reputation in Beijing. Later more and more china shops opened there, making the place live up to its name.
Dongsi: Dongsi got its name for a decorated archway called “Sipailou”. The archway was dismantled in 1954, but the name of Dongsi remains.
Zhangzizhonglu: The place was thus named Zhangzizhonglu to pay homage to famous anti-Japanese general Zhang Zizhong. Born in Linqing, Shandong province, Zhang Zizhong led the Chinese soldiers to resist Japanese invasion to Fancheng, Xiangyang city in Hubei province and died after a fierce battle in 1940.
Beixinqiao: There was a bridge (“qiao” in Chinese) called Xingqiao in the Yuan Dynasty and the name was changed to Beixinqiao during the reign of Emperor Xuantong, the last Qing emperor.
Huixinxijie Nankou: Huixinli used to be Yaowangmiao village of Datun township. The place was gradually turned to residence communities after 1954. There was a nunnery called “Hui Zhong An” and the residence communities were newly (“xin” in Chinese) built, and thus the place was called “Huixin”.
Datunlu East: It is said that the place was where imperial grain was stored up (“tun” in Chinese), so the village there was called Datun.
Beiyuanlu North: “Yuan” referred to a place where birds and animals were raised and plants were cultivated in old times. Beiyuan, as opposed to Nanyuan, was where the royalty went on safari in the Ming and Qing dynasties.
Lishuiqiao: A stone bridge was built over Qing River. Made of granite, the bridge piers stood (“li” in Chinese) solidly in water (“shui” in Chinese), so the bridge was called “Lishuiqiao”.
Bagou-Huoqiying-Changchunqiao-Chedaogou-Cishousi-Xidiaoyutai-Gongzhufen-Lianhuaqiao-Liuliqiao-Xiju-Niwa-Fengtai-Shoujingmao-Jijiamiao-Caoqiao-Jiaomen West-Jiaomen East-Dahongmen-Shiliuzhuang-Songjiazhuang-Chengshousi-Fenzhongsi-Shilihe-Panjiayuan-Jinsong-Shuangjing-Guomao-Jintaixizhao-Hujialou-Tuanjiehu-Agricultural Exhibition Center-Liangmaqiao-Sanyuanqiao-Taiyanggong-Shaoyaoju-Huixinxijie Nankou-Anzhenmen-Beitucheng-Jiandemen-Mudanyuan-Xitucheng-Zhichunlu-Zhichunli-Haidian Huangzhuang-Suzhoujie
Bagou: The station got its name as it neighbors Bagou village, which was home to many springs in history. The spring water from Wanquanzhuang flowed from south to north through ditches and channels. People began to live by eight of the largest ditches and gradually formed Bagou (Eight Ditches) village. Today’s Bagou is a homonym of “Eight Ditches” in Chinese.
Suzhoujie: A commercial street imitating those of Suzhou in South Yangtze River region was built around today’s Suzhoujie station to celebrate the 70th birthday of Emperor Qianlong’s mother. The street was burned by the Anglo-French army but the name of the street remains.
Haidian Huangzhuang: The station was named after Huangzhuang in Haidian nearby. Huangzhuang used to be the manor operated by the royal members of the Ming Dynasty. Today’s Haidian Huangzhuang, a homonym of its former name, started to be used in the early Republican era.
Jiandemen: The station is located at the former site of Jiandemen – the northwest gate of Dadu, the Yuan Capital, which used to be the only gate through which the Yuan army went on expeditions to the north.
Beitucheng: Next to the remains of the north (“bei” in Chinese) city wall of the Yuan Capital – Dadu, also known as “city built of earth” (“tucheng” in Chinese), the station was thus named Beitucheng.
Anzhenmen: The station is situated at the former site of Anzhenmen, the northeast gate of the Yuan capital Dadu. An overpass named Anzhenqiao was built near the location of former Anzhenmen in the 1980s when the north third ring road was built.
Shaoyaoju: The station was named after the surrounding residence community of Shaoyaoju. Legend has it that in the past every household living here planted Chinese peony to serve the palace and the village was named “Shanyaoju” by emperor.
Sanyuanqiao: Close to Sanyuanqiao, the place was once home to Sanyuan’an. The so called “sanyuan” refers to tianguan, diguan and shuiguan who are in charge of happiness, disaster relieving and warding off calamities.
Liangmaqiao: Liangmaqiao was closely related with Liangmahe outside Dongzhimen. In ancient times, business people who came to the capital often bathed their horses in the river and tied them to the willow trees by the bank, waiting for the horses to dry, and thus the river was called “Liangmahe” , literally “dry horse river”, a homonym of today’s Liangmahe in Chinese.
Jintaixizhao: Next to one of the “eight views of Yanching” – Jintaixizhao, the station was thus named. It is said that a platform was built here with gold placed on it to attract talents.
Shuangjing: The name came from two wells outside Guangqumen. In the past there was a large stretch of farmland outside Guangqumen where many vegetable gardens were located. Covering an area of over 40 mu (around 3 hectares), Yao family’s vegetable garden was the largest. The garden has two wells, one in the northwest and the other in the southeast, which were only more than 20 meters away from each other. A road lied south of the vegetable garden where passersby often took a rest under the large willow tree by the well, and thus people called the place Shuangjing, literally “two wells”. Though the vegetable garden together with the two wells had disappeared, Shuangjing as a place name is kept.
Jinsong:The station gained its name due to Jinsong residence community. The place was formerly known as “Jiasong village” where the tomb of Prince Su was located. A giant pine tree grew by the tomb and was supported by a wooden stand, so people call it “Jiasong”, namely, “supporting the pine tree”. Later the name was changed to “Jinsong”, which means “a vigorous pine tree”.