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Home >> Attractions >> Beijing >> Beijing Hutong >> Hutong History

Hutong History

The history of hutongs can be traced back to Yuan Dynasty (1271 - 1368). The term "hutong", originally meaning "water wells", appeared first during the Yuan Dynasty, and it is believed to be a term of Mongol language origin.

In the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), the center was the Forbidden City, surrounded in concentric circles by the Inner City and Outer City. Citizens of higher social status were permitted to live closer to the center of the circles. Aristocrats lived to the east and west of the imperial palace. The large siheyuan of these high-ranking officials and wealthy merchants often featured beautifully carved and painted roof beams and pillars and carefully landscaped gardens. The hutongs they formed were orderly, lined by spacious homes and walled gardens. Farther from the palace, and to its north and south, were the commoners, merchants, artisans, and laborers. Their siheyuan were far smaller in scale and simpler in design and decoration, and the hutongs were narrower


Hutong History
Hutong has seen the development of Chinese history.

Up to the year of 1949, Beijing had 6074 streets and alleys with names; 1330 of them were hutongs; 274 were streets and 111 were alleys. Customarily, those streets and alleys are all classified as hutongs by people.

In Beijing, you will see the hutongs intervene vertically and horizontally which form the unique and traditional sightseeing of Beijing. Hutongs are the home of the Beijing locals, and that's why the Beijingers have deep emotion to hutongs.

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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