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走进胡同 Walk into Hutong

05-24-2010 15:59 BJT

Host Ellen: Although many of the old houses in Beijing are being taken down in order to provide housing for its residence and to modernize the city, if you walk just a really short walk, from the main street in Beijing Chang'an avenue, you'll discover that you made it right into the middle of this, incredible piece of peace with the history of hundreds of years.

Board One: Walk into Hutong

Aside:If you walk into a small lane from a busy and noisy main road in Beijing, you will be able to see another view: rows of bungalows, narrow alleys and casual Beijing dwellers…. Welcome to Beijing Hutongs.

Ellen Aside: People talk about live in the hutongs, but actually they don’t live in the alleys, they live in the buildings on either side of the alley which is called siheyuan or courtyard houses. They called courtyard houses is because their rooms were built around the courtyard.

Aside:Siheyuan is a form of architecture which has the longest history and covers the vastest area. It is a typical form of Han people’s buildings. Hutongs in Beijing are in fact alleys formed by houses of different sizes.

Interviews with a folk custom expert, Mr.Ma Tiehan:Hutongs in Beijing have a long history. Generally speaking, hutongs came into Beijing in Liao and Jin Dynasty.

A city planning expert, Mr. Zheng Yiming:The name of hutong has already appeared in Yuan Dynasty, which means a place where many residents live together.

采访民俗专家马铁汉:有人问来源,为什么叫胡同,说法在学界也不统一。但是一般地说,它是来于蒙语hu tong 。
Interview with a folk custom expert, Mr. Ma Tiehan:Some people ask about the origin of the name of hutong. The academic circle also does not have a unified explanation. Generally, it came from a Mongolian word “ hu tong”.

Aside: The history of Beijing as a capital city is more than 700 years. With the development of the city, there are more and more people, more and more houses and more and more hutongs.

Interview with a Hutong dweller:There is an old saying that old Beijing has 3600 named hutongs and countless unnamed hutongs. Hutongs are like blood vessels which connects all parts of Beijing.

Zheng Yiming: According the latest statistics, there are more than 6000 hutongs in Beijing. 1316 among them have “hutong” this word in their names. If all the hutongs were connected, the length will not be shorter than Great Wall.

Editor:Shi Taoyang |Source:

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