Dazhalan (simplified Chinese: 大栅栏; traditional Chinese: 大柵欄; pinyin: Dàzhàlán; Wade–Giles: Ta-cha-lan; "Big fence"), colloquially Dashilar simplified Chinese: 大石栏儿; traditional Chinese: 大石欄兒; pinyin: Dàshilàn(r); Wade–Giles: Ta-shih-lan(r); "Big stone fence"), is a famous business street outside Qianmen in Beijing, China. Now the term Dazhalan is also used to refer to the area comprising besides Dazhalan also the Langfang Toutiao Lane, Liangshidian Street and Meishi Street.
Dazhalan is located to the south of Tiananmen Square, west of Qianmen Street. The overall length of Dashilan is 275m from east to west. At present, 36 stores from 11 trades are scattered along Dazhalan with an average customer flow of 150-160 thousand usually and 200 thousand in holidays. Because of the overall improvement of business environment in Beijing, the heart of retail business is no longer in the area of Qianmen and the business position Dashilan once held is also on the wane. Except some Lao zihao (literally long reputed enterprises), most of the present shops and stores of Dashilan are offering goods of poor qualities at low prices. Meanwhile, there are many lawless men perpetrating frauds and extortion on the street.
In the Ming Dynasty, the name “Dashilan” was not yet recorded in the work of Zhang Zhupo, "Blocks and Streets in the Five Boroughs of Beijing". Only Langfang Toutiao, Langfang Ertiao, Langfang Santiao and Langfang Sitiao existed to the west of the road which was outside Qianmen. Langfang Sitiao was located in the same place as modern-day Dashilan. It can be inferred that the place name “Dashilan” did not exist in the Ming Dynasty. The so-called "Langfang" is often referred to as a storeroom along the street.
Although the name "Dashilan" was not used in the Ming Dynasty, the place where Dashilan situated was already a flourishing commercial district, with many merchants gathering. In the first year of the Hongzhi era of the Ming Dynasty(1488), in order to keep the public safety of the capital, the central government built wooden fences at all the entrances to the streets and lanes in Beijing. The fence was accomplished with the contributions of the local residents, and the total number of the fences was more than 1700 by the end of the Qing Dynasty. Among them, the Langfang Sitiao street’s fence was funded by the merchants.
For this reason, the fence was extremely large and thus got the name “Dashilan”. With the passage of time, "Dashilan" gradually became the formal name of the street in replacement of "Langfang Sitiao". In the 25th year of the Guangxu reign of the Qing Dynasty (1899), Dashilan caught a fire and the wooden fence was burnt. From then on, the fence has practically disappeared, leaving only the name "Dashilan" itself. It was not until the year of 2000 that the Beijing government rebuilt the iron fence at the entrance of Dashilan.
Over centuries, the traditional commercial street Dashilan holds quite a few Lao zihaos which are well-known both at China and abroad. The Lao zihaos, such as Tongrentang (Chinese: 同仁堂; pinyin: Tóngréntáng) Chinese herbal medicine store, Rui Fu Xiang (Chinese: 瑞蚨祥; pinyin: ruìfúxiáng) silk store, Ma Ju Yuan (Chinese: 马聚元; pinyin: Mǎjùyuán) hat store, Nei Lian Sheng (Chinese: 内联升; pinyin: Neìliánshéng) shoe store, Zhang Yi Yuan (Chinese: 张一元; pinyin: Zhāngyīyuán) tea shop, and Liu Bi Ju (Chinese: 六必居; pinyin: Liùbìjū) pickle shop, as well as Yi Pin Zhai (Chinese: 一品斋; pinyin: Yīpǐnzhāi), Bu Ying Zhai (Chinese: 步瀛斋; pinyin: Bùyíngzhāi), Ju Shun He (Chinese: 聚顺和; pinyin: Jùshùnhé), Chang Sheng Kui (Chinese: 长盛魁; pinyin: Chángshèngkuí), are over 100 years old.