Hútòngs

On July 30, 2012, in Beijing, Getting Around, More Places of Interest, by Jack Li

Beijing is a city that has changed throughout the last years. But if you travel to Beijing and you want to know how the city was hundreds of years ago, there are places where you can go and still see the traditional streets. Don’t miss it in your Beijing Tour.

The Hútòngs are basically the old streets of Beijing, they were constructed during the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties and they are the most ancient part of the city, they are so old that the oldest ones have up to 700 years of history.

The houses in the hútòngs normally have a square structure with a small entrance and a big interior open space where most of the domestic life is done, another peculiarity of the hútòngs is that the bathrooms are shared.

In the year 2000 they were more than 1400 Hútòngs just in the center of Beijing, but when the Olympics were given to Beijing they had to modify the street structure in order to hold all the infrastructures that were necessary for the event and now there are less than 1000 hútòngs in Beijing.

So if you want to visit the Hútòngs you just have to know where to go to see them, here there is a list of the places that still have hútòngs in Beijing:

–          Nanluogu Xiang; formed by 8 parallel hútòngs it’s 768 meters long and it’s protected since 1990

–          Yandai Xiejie; Built in the Qing dynasty this hútòng zone is famous for the Tea houses and bars that have given the zone a very active nightlife

–          Beijing Liulichang Culture Street; this is the place to see ancient things such as calligraphy or books.

–          Lingjing hútòng; its 640 meters long make this street one of the most unique and it’s worth visiting it.

–          Brick tower Hútòng; It’s one of the oldest hútòngs and it is well preserved with a tower built in the Jing dynasty, so you can visit it and feel the ancient times.

There are lots of other Hútòngs in the city of Beijing so if you are really interested it’s good to ask in your hotel or in the tourist information points to find where are all the hútòngs. They may seem similar because they all follow the same structure but there are huge differences in the materials and ways of construction depending on which dynasty the Hútòng was built.

The city of Beijing is full of places to go, but the Hútòngs are one of the most emblematic places to go in your Beijing tour, even if it’s only for a night in one of the bars of the Yanday Xiejie Hútòng or a walk in the Brick Tower Hútòng you have to visit these places before leaving Beijing because you’ll have a vision on how the city was hundreds of years ago before Beijing changed from a Chinese traditional town to the modern metropolis that is today.

 

Jack Li
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