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Exploring Beijing hutongs

11-18-2010 14:44 BJT

A hutong is an ancient city alley, typical of Beijing. The centuries-old lanes have developed into a hot tourist attraction during the holiday season.


Surrounding the Forbidden City, many of the hutongs were built during the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties.

The typical architecture is the Siheyuan, a building complex formed by four houses around a quadrangular courtyard.

The Siheyuan varied in size and design according to the social status of the residents.

The hutongs are passageways between the closely arranged Siheyuan.

One popular tour starts from the Shichahai Lake area, at the back door of Beihai Park.

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