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Liverpool’s Chinatown, Home to the Oldest Chinese Community in Europe

There are three very interesting things that you may not know about Liverpool’s Chinatown.

First, that Liverpool is home to the oldest Chinese community in Europe, the first settlers are recorded arriving in 1834, when the first vessel from China arrived into Liverpool’s thriving docks.

Second, that the gateway arch, located in the heart of Chinatown, is the largest, multiple-span arch outside of China, measuring 13.5 metres, the arch is decorated with 200 hand carved dragons, 12 of which are pregnant, to symbolize prosperity between Liverpool and China.

Thirdly, that on the corner of Berry Street, on the side of the the now closed White House Pub, is a large rat holding a machine gun, and one of the largest works by the mysterious graffiti artist, Banksy. However, if you want to see the Banksy giant rat, may I suggest a visit to Chinatown sooner rather than later. The building on which the art exists has recently been sold to a developer who plans to turn it into apartments, and it does not look as though his plans include keeping the work of art in tact.

If arches and giant rats don’t appeal to you then there is also some very tasty food on offer.

Chinatown is home to over twenty restaurants, and offers a wide range of cuisines, including Thai, Vietnamese, Cantonese and Sichuan. My favourite resteraunt in Chinatown is the Tokyou Noodle Bar on Berry Street. The tasteful Japanese décor and New York City chic of this lively noodle bar serves an endless traffic of students, theatre goers, end of the dayers and date nights. When you arrive it will most probably be busy, it always is, but the turnover is high and it wont be long before you are sat down. Tokyou serves the hungry: The very hungry. Be prepared to be confronted with a well stocked bowl of noodles, so bring your appetite. Wash it all down with a decent selection of Eastern beer, or green tea if you are feeling healthy, and then get ready to walk it off.

And a fine walk it will be. Chinatown sits snuggly in the very heart of Liverpool, just a few minutes walk from some of its premier attractions, including the, already mentioned, Arch, the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, home to Britain’s longest surviving professional orchestra or St Luke’s Church, the Bombed Church, as it is known to the locals. A victim of the German onslaught during the second world war, the centre of St Luke’s was completely destroyed, but the outer walls and bell tower somehow survived, and now the church is filled with trees, in what must surely be one of the most unique sites, in an area of unique sites.

Liverpool is a fascinating city. It has, and unfortunately continues to have, a stereotype that does no justice to its vibrant culture and unique attractions. When climbing off a train at the recently beautified Lime Street station walk for five minutes and you could find yourself in The Albert Dock, a UNESCO World Heritage site, The Anglican Cathedral, the worlds second longest church (second only to St Peters Basilica, Rome.) or even Europe’s oldest Chinese community.

About The Author

Today’s Blighty Traveller Guest Writer is Kieran Lynn. He is a freelance writer, originally from Liverpool, though currently lives in Chicago, Illinois, where he works as a soccer coach.

Photo Credits: aloha orangeneko, Evil_Elliot, Andrew Dunn

4 Responses to Liverpool’s Chinatown, Home to the Oldest Chinese Community in Europe

  1. The Blighty Traveller Reply

    March 7, 2011 at 10:12 am

    I loved reading this. Liverpool is one of my favourite cities and I always enjoy a visit. I have,however, yet to visit Chinatown which is now an absolute must on my next trip.

    A really good article Kieran.

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