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Home >> Attractions >> Beijing >> Beijing Hutong >> Hutong Culture

Hutong Culture

Entering Beijing for the first time, what attract people the most are not those rows of modernized sky rises, or wide streets extending in all directions but the quiet and deep Hutongs, beautiful and harmonious Siheyuan (courtyards). As the carrier of ancient culture for thousands of years, Hutong, surrounding the Forbidden City, could trace back to dynasties Yuan, Ming, Qing. And comparing with imperial kinsmen and aristocrats in Forbidden city or other magnificent palaces and mansions, the residents of Hutong are ordinary people, it indeed reflects the daily life of Beijing grassroots, offering a glimpse of the human landscape of Beijing.

At anytime, Hutong represents a vivid picture of real people in Beijing, greeting to each other, innocent children playing together, youths walking in or out the alley, and elders sitting under trees chatting or playing chess. In the early morning and evening, many people, especially the old generations, gather together for practicing Taijiquan (Chinese traditional exercise for good health) as well as folkway dancing and singing Peking opera arias. People who live in Hutong, shareing a harmonious environment, rush busily all the time to present various and extraordinary means of living style.

Busy rickshaws shuttle across the hutong alleyways. Hutong offers a glimpse of the human landscape of Beijing.

Hutong culture not only lies in people, but also in its own and others. Hutong has many different types in construction; so from this point, Hutong is a valuable source for historians and archaeologists to study ancient building styles of different dynasties. The names of Hutongs are got from various factors, such as names of places, plants, directions, people's name etc. In Chinese, some of them even appear to be vulgar and meaningless, while those exactly can not be ignored for the study of chorography and people's immigrants. For Beijing’s long history and its status as capital for six dynasties, many traditions came into being from hutong, and almost every hutong has its anecdote to discover, and some are even related with historic events or famous people. Besides, typical Beijing dialect, interesting folktales and delicious local food can also be gained here.

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.

As a unique cultural gem, Hutong attracts seas of tourists from home and abroad. At many hutongs, old-fashioned pedicabs or rickshaw has become a special view, and you can take them to explore fascinating streetscape of Hutong and take a glance at the essence of Beijing culture.

Top Beijing Attractions

  • Badaling Great Wall: This is the best-preserved and most imposing section of the Great wall is approximately 3,741 meters(2.3 miles) long and was of great strategic importance in ancient times.
  • Temple of Heaven: This temple complex is an architectural wonder featuring the triple-roofed "Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest" where the emperor went to worship heaven and pray for the coming harvest.
  • The Forbidden City: One of the world's most beautiful architectural complexes, this served as China's imperial palace for almost five centuries. Its massive scale and majestic design are overwhelming.
  • Summer Palace: Once serving as the imperial summer getaway, it ranks as one of the most visited and most classical gardens in the world. It's size and splendor will leave you a lasting impression.

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