Chinatown

Tasneem Ouyoun

Chicago’s Chinatown is contemporary community rich in ancient Chinese culture.

China is one of the oldest civilizations in the world.

Chinatown was the product of the largest influx of Chinese immigrants coming to America during the Gold-rush era.

When it was discovered that the gold was gone the Chinese formed began to form a community in the loop area before relocating to the southside of Chicago.

By the 1920s, Chinatown extended from west Cermak Road and south Wentworth Avenue to south Wentworth and south Princeton Avenue.

The Chinese stayed true to their beliefs when they migrated, bringing with them vases, Chinese dragons, lions and the colors red and yellow give luck.

The Chineses’ spiritual beliefs not only affect their art and culture but also their architect.

Balance and symmetry play large roles in Chinese architecture and are evident in some of the building in Chinatown; curved roofs, the color and tiers of the eaves, and roof decorations are believed to ward off evil spirits and instead bring in good luck.

Today Chinatown can be found centered on Cermak and Wentworth Avenue with a population ranging around 7,254.

“[Chinatown] Kinda of like a small China… Very friendly and everybody gets along with each other.” said Rui Ma (25) a hostess at a popular restaurant in Chinatown.

Visitors to Chinatown still see parts of vibrant Chinese culture, tradition, and belief shining through.

Along the streets of Chinatown you will find a numerous amount of Chinese family owned shops.

“Chinatown is a major attraction and is very attractive to people living outside of southside, people feel at home in Chinatown” said Yat Wunt (53) a resident and business owner in Chinatown for 30 years.

The Chinatown Pavilion, located on south Wentworth Avenue and west Cermak Road, is a perfect example of Chinese architect with the curving roof, colors, decorations, and tiers embellishing this glorious landmark.

Right next to the Chinatown Pavilion is the Nine Dragon Wall, an intricate work of art made piece by piece in China and sent to Chinatown.

One of Chinatown’s most identifiable and memorable landmarks is the Chinatown Gate standing proudly at the entrance of Chinatown for 38 years.

For a complete list of all the attractions and events going on in Chinatown visit chicagochinatown.org.

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