This modernization has no doubt been helped by the important role that Chengdu plays in terms of education and culture in China. Once one of the most important printing centers in the country, Chengdu has a long history as a destination for learned poets and artists to gather and seek inspiration. The great poet Du Fu, made his home here and today there are 14 colleges and an impressive university situated in the city.
Nestled amongst this affluence and development is another side to Chengdu. Traditional wooden Chinese architecture that once dominated this city can still be found in the outskirts although it is fast disappearing. What does still exist here however in abundance, is a great street life. Markets and street hawkers fill the streets dealing in everything you could possibly imagine, from snakes and snails to fortunes and foot scrubs.