The area around the Drum and Bell towers has reopened to the public after weeks of construction. The main area of the courtyard, which was walled off for almost a year, is also now open.
The area has been wholly 'gentrified'. The shops and cafes that lined the courtyard have been replaced with newly built empty lots. It's as yet unclear what will fill the spaces, but we've got money on Starbucks being the first to move in. The structures are that faux-old grey brick that's so popular these days. If you like Qianmen Dajie, you'll love what they've done to the place.
In the centre of the courtyard is a giant mesh orb, which we're guessing will be full of flowers soon. Grass and bamboo is also currently being planted in the area.
The renovations may have sucked the soul out of the place, but it's nice to have the courtyard back after so long. The towers themselves are still closed to the public, and are due to reopen on October 17. See pictures below.