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Notes on the Geography of China: Kunming

An ancient city, Kunming came into the 20th century in 1913, when a French-owned railway reached it from Hanoi, to the southeast.  Thirty years later, Kunming got the famous Burma Road, which brought it war materiel from the southwest.  By 1950, the city had 300,000 people.  Since then, it's grown to about three million.  The numbers are less dramatic than the wholesale clearance of one city--built of wood--and its replacement by one of concrete.

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China: Kunming picture 1

The old city was full of shophouses.

China: Kunming picture 2

There were courtyard houses, too.

China: Kunming picture 3

You have to squint if you want to imagine the city as it was even in 1950.

China: Kunming picture 4

Old and new.

China: Kunming picture 5

The building on the left is part of the famous bird market.

China: Kunming picture 6

That market occupies a street whose margins are now lined with shops in front of the original shophouses.

China: Kunming picture 7

The same strategy is employed here, more nakedly.

China: Kunming picture 8

Getting ready to open for business; a moment earlier, he had arrived with his basket, put it down, and removed the blue cover.

China: Kunming picture 9

Another merchant sets out live pet food.

China: Kunming picture 10

Market hours: this is the gardening section.

China: Kunming picture 11

A block away, the new city.

China: Kunming picture 12

Advertising, with the usual non-Chinese models.

China: Kunming picture 13


China: Kunming picture 14


China: Kunming picture 15

A Soviet-era museum looks quaint.

China: Kunming picture 16

Soviet-era merchandising looks pretty dull.

China: Kunming picture 17


China: Kunming picture 18

Rush hour.

China: Kunming picture 19

Public exercise-ground.

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