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Hutongs, a type of narrow alleys or street, is very typical and unique in Beijing. With the history of 700 years, Hutongs in Beijing display

the aspect of Chinese cultural history. At first glance, Hutongs is seemed to have the similar appearances with grey walls and grey

tiled buildings. However, if you are patient to talk with the dwellers in Hutongs, you will find that every hutong has its own anecdote and


Hutong was not only the backbone of transportation in the ancient Beijing but also the place where common people lived. Hutongs

represent the vicissitude of society and are rich in cultural atmosphere, which makes hutongs like a folk museum.

The term 'Hutong' first appeared during Yuan Dynasty (1206AD-1370AD) with the meaning of 'town'. The place which was closer to

Forbidden City was lived by those who had the higher social status like high-ranking officials and wealthy merchants. Their houses

were called siheyuan which was characterized by carved and painted roof beams and beautiful gardens. And Hutongs were built and

lined by the siheyuan and walled gardens.

In the mid-20th century, many hutongs were demolished to pave the way for new buildings and roads. Some of them still stands and

have been designated as the protected area.

Some famous hutongs are listed below:

Yandai Xiejie
It is said that Yandai Xiejie is the oldest and most famous Hutong in Beijing. It is 232 meters long and located in front of Drum Tower.

In Qing Dynasty, the shops in this hutong operated the business of tobaccos, smoking sets and curios. 'Yan' in Chinese means

tobacco and 'Dan' pouch. Yandai is a pouch to contain tobaccos. And some persons said that the shape of street look like a smoking


During 1950s many buildings were converted into residential houses and this street was redeveloped to contain its historical features

in 2007. You can find various types of shops and stores of Indian cloths, Tibet costumes, Lijing crafts, Shaanxi pottery and so on.

Ya'er Hutong
Ya'er Hutong started from Xiao Shibei Hutong in the southwest and is connected with Yandai Xiejie. In the east end stands a famous

stone bridge named Xinding Bridge. With the length of 820 meters, it winds along the north bank of Shicha Lake and parallels with

north part of Houhai Lake. Guanghua Temple is located at No.31 of Ya'er Hutong. It was constructed during the reign of Emperor Wanli

of Ming Dynasty (1368AD-1644AD). It is one of best-preserve temples in Beijing and still in use. Some important Buddhism activities

are held here.

Jinsi Hutong
The No.12 of Da Jinsi Hutong has a special arch which was wrote in the book of Lonely Planet and best-known to many tourists. It is

said that this siheyuan is the only place which can be lived by foreign tourists.

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