Beijing and China Tour Expert

Beijing Hutong

Hutong
  • Beijing Hutongs are lanes or alleys formed by lines of Siheyuan (a compound with houses around a courtyard). They show the culture of old Beijing and the old lifestyle of Beijingers. Many famous operas and dramas are based on the themes of hutong life.

Profile

  • ID : 7
  • City : beijing
  • English name : Beijing Hutong
  • Chinese name : 北京胡同
  • Type : cultural
  • Theme : Ancient street,Ancient architecture
  • Level : easy
  • Kids : possible
  • Elders: possible
  • Best season : All seasons
  • Visiting length : 40 to 120 minutes
  • Distance to city center : 2 km

Introduction of Beijing Hutong

    Beijing Hutong are lanes or alleys formed by lines of Siheyuan (a compound with houses around a courtyard). Most of them were built during the Yuan (1206-1368), Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1908) dynasties surrounding the Forbidden City. They show the culture of old Beijing and the old lifestyle of Beijingers. Many famous operas and dramas are based on the themes of hutong life.

Photo of Beijing Hutong

  • Local people on bicycle, old gentleman, local house, trees and interesting man-powered rickshaw lives in the photo of Hutong as well as in the heart of millions of local Beijing people.
  • Beijing Hutong photo
  • photo size: 1920 * 1186 px
  • author: Jasper
  • owner: Beijing Xindong International Travel Service Co,.LTD
  • category: Beijing attraction photo

Highlights of visiting Old Beijing Hutong

    Bell and Drum Towers, Prince Gong's Mansion, Man-power rickshaw, Shichahai Lake, Yandaixie Street are separate attractions within Hutong area. Most of them needs admission tickets.

Helper to visit Beijing Hutong

  • Address in English : Di 'an Men Street Area, Xicheng District, Beijing
  • Address in Chinese : 北京市西城区地安门大街附近
  • Tel : Null
  • Post code : 100009
  • Ticket time : No tickets needed
  • Open time : All day round
  • Closing time : Null
  • Location : Beijing Hutong is around 2 km to downtown beijing
    • Transportation
      • Transfer to Nanluoguxiang and Yandaixie Street
      • Public bus: bus 5, 60, 107, 124, 635 (Gulou Station)
      • Subway:
        • Take Subway Line 6, get off at Beihai Bei Station or Nanluoguxiang Station.
        • Take Subway Line 2, get off at Gulou Dajie Station.
    • Private car is the best method if you visit Beijing Hutong with local tour operator.

Season and Admission

  • High season : 40 RMB/person.
  • Shoulder season : 40 RMB/person.
  • Shoulder season : 40 RMB/person.

Discover Old Beijing Hutong

Please send us an email if you can not find Beijing Hutong tour you need on this page. We can tailor a private trip to Beijing Hutong.

Hotels near Beijing Hutong

  • Hotel near Nanluoguxiang
  • Orange Hotel (Beijing North of Xizhimen)
  • Nostalgia Hotel (Beijing Prince Kung's Mansion)
  • Rongyuan Hotel
  • Hotel near Yandaixie Street
  • Huguosi Hotel
  • Jintai Hotel Bamboo Garden Branch
  • Hainan Hotel
  • Other hotel in Hutong
  • Sofu hotel
  • Beijing Ningxia Hotel
  • Shichahai Shadow Art Hotel
  • VUE Hotel

Map of Beijing Hutong

  • Most interesting Hutongs are located in the area around Bell & Drum Tower, not far from Shichahai Lake. Bell & Drum Tower, Bar Street, Former Residence of Songqingling, Guoshoujing Memorial Hall, Deshengmen Archery Tower, Former Residence of Meilanfang, Yinding Bridge, Prince Gong's Mansion, Huguosi Snack Street, Former Furen University, Guomuoruo Former Residence, Lotus Market, Fire God Temple, Former Residence of Fenguozhang, Former Residence of Maodun, Central Drama Adademy, South Luogu Lane Archway are located in the Hutong area and can be found on this map. Subway is available in Hutong; the station covers Shichaai Station, Beihaibei Station(Beihai North Station), South Luogu Lane Station (Nanluoguxiang Station).
    Beijing Hutong location in Beijing can be found in the bottom right corner.
  • Beijing Hutong map
  • map size: 2000 * 1236 px
  • author: Echo
  • copywright: Beijing Xindong International Travel Service Co,.LTD
  • category: Beijing attraction map
  • History of Beijing Hutong
  • Before Jin dynasty (in the 12 century), there were no Hutongs in Beijing, just streets, roads and district. In the early 13 century, a Mongolian tribe from the north became very strong. Led by Genghis Khan, the Mongolians occupied Beijing. In 1260, Kubla Khan, the grandson of Genghis Khan established Yuan Dynasty. Kubla Khan set Beijing as the capital city. Unfortunately, the old city was destroyed during the war. So they had to rebuild it. In old China, all the structures and roads were required to be symmetrical.
    First, they had to find a center, and then built a regular square city. The emperors planned the city and arranged the residential areas surrounding the Forbidden City according to the etiquette systems to establish supreme power.

    After construction was completed, they asked all the residents who lived in the old city to move to the new one. Thus the Hutong was formed.
    At the end of the Qing Dynasty, many newly formed hutongs with irregular houses appeared outside the city, while many old ones lost their former neat arrangement with frequent civil wars and foreign invasions. The city of Beijing deteriorated, and the conditions of the hutong worsened. Quadrangles previously owned by one family became a compound occupied by many households.

    After the founding of the People??s Republic of China in 1949, hutong??s conditions improved. In recent years, the houses in many hutongs have been pulled down and replaced by modern buildings. Many hutong dwellers have moved to new housing. The hutongs today are fading into the shade for both tourists and inhabitants. However, in the urban district of Beijing houses along hutongs still occupy one third of the total area, providing housing for half the population, so many hutongs have survived. In this respect, we regard Beijing as an ancient yet modern city.
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    • Name Source of Hutong
    • The word "Hutong" is said to originate from the Mongolian language "gudum", meaning "water well". "Hudu" or "Hudun" are variants of it. In the northern, grasslands communities tended to live around wells. so hot (almost the same pronunciation of well in Mongolian), came to mean a town. Later the word was applied to mean small street or lane. The sound gradually changed to hutong.

      Small streets in Beijing began to be called Hutong after the "Nuzhen" people from the northeast, who founded the Jin Dynasty, captured the city in 1127 and make it their capital. (Their language has similarities to Mongolian.) The custom became more widespread when the city was the capital of the Yuan Dynasty after the Mongol conquest.
      Beijing's history is preserved in the names of its hutong. Some retain the name of some famous persons who once lived there, such as Yongkang Liang. Others are named after well-known craftsmen or shops, such as Doufu Chen Hutong for a bean curd seller named Chen, and Fenfang Liu Jia for the home of a maker of bean vermicelli Liu. There are also lanes with names like Jinyu (Goldfish), Dengcao (Light Rush), and Shoupa (Handkerchief). Generally speaking, when one of the winding Hutong makes a major turn, it takes on a new name.
    • Features of Beijing Hutong
    • Hutong means a passage between rows of Siheyuan courtyard house, the traditional residence of Beijingers, each consisting of rectangle courtyard surrounded by one-storied tile-roofed houses. The quadrangles varied in size and design according to the social status of the residents. The big quadrangles of high- ranking officials and wealthy merchants were specially built with roof beams and pillars all beautifully carved and painted, each with a front yard and back yard. However, the ordinary people's quadrangles were simply built with small gates and low houses.

      In fact, Hutong is passageways formed by many closely arranged quadrangles of different sizes. They specially built quadrangles all face the south for better lighting; as a result, a lot of hutongs run from east to west. Many small hutongs went north and south for convenient passage between the big hutongs.
    • Variety of Hutong in Beijing
    • How many kinds of Hutong in Beijing? When the Hutong was fist built, you can find streets and Hutongs. At that time, there was a clear definition for a street or a lane.
      A 36-metre-wide road was called a big street. An 18-meter-wide one was called a small street. And a 9-metre-wide lane was called a Hutong.
      Later, hutong can be normally divided into two kinds. One kind of hutongs usually referred to as the regular hutong, was near the palace to the east and west and orderly arranged along the streets. Most of the residents of these hutongs were imperial relatives and aristocrats. Another kind, the simple and crude one, was mostly located far to the north and south of the palace. The residents were merchants and other ordinary people.

      At present, there are some 6000 Hutong in Beijing. In the wider ones two buses can pass. The narrowest spot is the southern end of Gaoxiao Hutong, through which only one person can walk at a time. The longest, Rongxian (Embroidery Floss) Hutong, is two kilometers long. The shortest is Yichi Dajie (One-foot street), which is actually twenty meters long. The gray-tiled houses and deep alleys crossing with each other in identical appearance like a maze, you will find it much fun to walk through but be care not to lost yourself.
    • Culture of Beijing Hutong
    • With a history of hundreds of years, Beijing Hutong represents lifestyle of old Beijingers. It is the embodiment of Beijing's ancient culture. Every hutong has its own story. Like a museum of folk customs, Beijing Hutong has rich cultural atmosphere. Strolling on the lanes, you can experience peaceful and harmonious life of local Beijingers from the large or small courtyard. Many politicians, writers, painters, and Peking opera stars have been lived here.

      In many people's minds, Beijing is associated with the hutongs. They are an important part of the culture and the way of life of Beijingers, especially the older generation. Walking through the hutongs, it is common to see groups of elderly citizens sitting together playing cards or Chinese chess. In the early mornings and evenings, they gather to practice traditional forms of exercise such as taijiquan as well as to dance and sing folk songs or Peking Opera arias.

      Traditional food being sold in carts or small stalls are also the important elements of Hutong in Beijing. These products changes according to the season, from flavoured ice in the summer to long kebabs of crab apples covered in sugar in the autumn and winter.
      So important are the hutongs to the culture of Beijing that there have been many operas, plays and films about them. And in numerous hutongs are scattered the residences of famous personages, and these places are repositories.

      Laoshe , a well-known playwright is just one of them. He is one of 20th century China's greatest novelists and playwrights. Laoshe was born in a small lane, in the west part of the city. The memory of his childhood was so dear and impressive that after he'd been away from Beijing for more than 20 years, he still clearly remembered his birthplace, and he made it the backdrop of his novel "the Four Generations under One Roof". Many famous operas and dramas are based on the themes of the " hutong life". His "Teahouse" is set in what is often the focal point of a hutong community and brings together several characters from the old streets of Beijing to discuss the problems of traditional society.
      A more modern love song for the hutongs is Zhang Yang's "Shower" (1999) about a traditional bath house where men from the community gather to drink tea, receive massages, fight crickets and escape their marital problems. The film laments the loss of such old ways of life as the hutongs are being knocked down to make way for modern blocks of flats.
    • Stories of Hutongs
    • Beijing's hutongs are more than just architecture. They are the people who live there. They are a museum of Beijing's folk custom and they are a witness to the city's history. Many hutongs have a story behind them. Near the Forbidden City in the heart of old Beijing is a hutong called "the Weaving Girl" named after the daughter of a god who descended to the human world with her sisters to swim in a river and then proceeded to fall in love with a cowherd. Her enraged father, the Celestial Emperor, took the girl back and separated the couple with the Milky Way.
      On the opposite side of the Forbidden City, there used to be a Cowherd Bridge. Flanked by the cowherd and the weaving girl, the suggestion was that the feudal emperors living in the Forbidden City were the sons of Heaven.

      Another example is a bell tower in the north part of Beijing. The bell in it served as a watch for the city. It told people when curfew was, or when officials should go to court. The bell was made of iron in the Ming dynasty about 600 years ago. It didn't sound loud enough to reach the whole city, so the emperor ordered the master who was famous for making bells to make a new bronze bell. The master tried his best, but failed. None of the bells he made was good enough. However, the deadline was approaching. He had to make a last attempt. The master's daughter was worried. She knew that if her father couldn't finish the bell on time, the whole family would be killed. Having no other alternatives, she threw herself into the melting bronze. A nice looking, good quality bell was made. Its sound reached the whole city.
      More Photo

    Similiar Attractions with Beijing Hutong

    • Hutongs worth to visit
    • Mao'er Hutong Located in the northwest of Dongcheng District, Mao'er Hutong starts from Nanluoguxiang in the east and stretches to Di??anmenwai Street in the west. The No.9 and 11 of the hutong are Keyuan Garden, one of the most representative private gardens in Beijing. Many celebrities had once lived here, such as Wanrong, the last empress of Qing Dynasty.
      Guozijian Street Guozijian Street is famous for the Confucius Temple and Imperial Academy (Guozijian). It is the only one street with ancient archway. It still preserves the layout and architectures of old Beijing.
      Liulichang Cultural Street Liulichang Cultural Street is located in south of Hepingmen Gate, Xicheng District. It is a famous antique street originated from Qing Dynasty. Walking along Liulichang Street, you will find many ancient style shops for ancient paintings, calligraphy, books, old coins, rubbings, ink stones and ink, etc. There are other hutongs worth to visit, such as Dongjiaominxiang, the former embassy district, and Xijiaominxiang, the former financial street of Beijing city.
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