Famous Hutongs in Beijing
Today you can find various Hutongs with different shapes，lengths or directions.The shortest one is only 40 centimeters wide，which means a person like me has to walk sideways to get through. And some Hutongs have more than 20 turns. With the growth of the population，many old Hutongs have disappeared to make way for high-rise apartments. Today I'm very happy to show you some well-preserved Hutongs，and to let you experience the typical Chinese life. Are you ready？Let's go！
As we walk through the Hutongs，you may find most of them look almost the same with gray-colored walls and bricks. Actually inside those walls are the courtyard houses，where people live. In Chinese we call them"siheyuan"."Si"literally means four,"he"means to surround，and"yuan"refers to the courtyard. So a rectangular wall enclosing four houses，one built on each side facing into the center，is called a Siheyuan. When they were first built，usually one Siheyuan was owned by only one family，but nowadays，with the growth of the population，most Siheyuans are shared by 4 to 10 families.
Nowadays, although lots of hutongs were demolished for giving way to the development of modern Beijing, some high-prized hutongs still have been designated as protected areas in an attempt to preserve this aspect of Chinese cultural heritage, such as famous Nanluoguxiang Hutong, Yandaixie Street etc.
The following hutongs are the must-see places for visitors:
Nanluoguxiang, also named South Luogu Lane, is one of the oldest alleyways in Beijing. It is an 800-meter long North-South alleyway with cafes, bars, and shops all designed in classical Chinese ‘hutong’ style. With a history of over 800 years, Nanluoguxiang has become a hotspot of attraction reported by Fashion magazine.
Beijing Liulichang Culture Street (Beijing Colored Glaze Factory Street)
Located in Xuanwu District in the southwestern Beijin, Liulichang, the 750-meter-long street, still bears the appearance of a Qing Dynasty market streetIn the 1980s, the street was renovated and various specialized shops were rebuilt. With brightly painted doors and eaves and gracefully curved black-tile-roofs buildings, a little of old Beijing 's lifestyle retained here.
Yandaixie Street, also named as Tobacco Pipe Lane, is one of the oldest streets in Beijing. It begins from Di An Men Wai street and intersects with Xiao Shi Pai Hutong and Yaer Hutong. It is in the direction of Northwest-Southwest with a length of 232 meters (760.96 ft). The street connects the three important tourist attractions: Di An Men, the Bell and Drum Tower and Houhai.
Now Beijing has more than 1000 Hutongs in existence. The Hutongs running through each others vertically and horizontally forms a unique sight of old Beijing. Hutongs are best preserved in East, west side city and Qianmen areas which are the best places for tourists to explore the culture of Hutongs.
For those who are willing to probe the way the Chinese live, a jaunt down the intricate maze of BeIjing's hutongs is essential. Organized tours of Beijing hutongs are available. You will be taken by pedicab (a tricycle cab), which was very popular in the old days to visit the Bell and Drum Towers, Prince Gong's Mansion and even to pay a visit to an ordinary Beijing family in the compound houses. If you are there at a meat time, you may be invited to a family "banquet" with local dishes.
Some Characteristic famous Hutong:
- The oldest Hutong: Zhuan Ta Hutong ( Brick Tower Hutong)
- The narrowest Hutong:Qian Shi Hutong (Money Market Hutong), the narrowest part is merely 40 centimeters (16 inches) wide
- The longest Hutong in Beijing LegationQuarter ( Dong jiao min xiang)
- The shortest Hutong: One-foot street
- Nine turns Hutong, one can easily get lost in this Hutong
- Hutong of Little Yang's Family (Xiao Yang Jia Hutong)
Hutong culture History
Protection of Hutong
Famous Hutongs Nanluoguxiang (Nanluoguxiang Hutong, 南锣鼓巷)
Yandaixie Street (Tobacco Pipe Lane)
Beijing Liulichang Culture Street
One Day Hutong Tour