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Prince Gong's Mansion and Hutongs around Houhai Area

Today, we visit the Beijing center hutongs and Prince Gong's Mansion. Hutong means a lane or alley, in fact the passage formed by lines of Siheyuan. Hutong and Siheyuan are the outstanding representatives of traditional residence style in north China. If I were alone in hutongs, I must be lost in it.

Yandaixiejie - famous Hutong in Beijing

Got off Subway Line 2, the Guloudajie Station, we walked to Prince Gong's Mansion along with the various hutongs. It is said that hutong came into in Yuan Dynasty when Kublai Khan found Beijing as the capital. Most hutongs run from north to south or east to west, formed the neat layout of Beijing city. Along the way to Prince Gong's Mansion, we enjoyed some modern hutongs and some ancient hutongs, even, some hutongs has become dilapidated. The most interesting hutong is the Yandai Xiejie. As one of the Beijing old hutongs, Yandai Xiejie takes its advantage in location and was made to be a popular street for tourists. Walking along this street, we found small quantities of strange stuff like art, Mao kitsch, traditional Chinese clothing, jewellery, silk items, tea and teapots and a small selection of funkier designer clothes. It gathers the characteristics of Chinese traditional culture. It is not very long, but close to Houhai Lake.

Out of Yandai Xiejie, we saw the Yingding Bridge, located between Houhai and Qianhai. Seemed like the silver ingot, it was named as Yingding Bridge. There are various rickshaws with foreigners near Houhai area. The drivers tell guests the history and culture of hutongs nearby and drive them to enjoy them.

Prince Gong's Mansion

Passed the hutongs, we arrived at Prince Gong's Mansion, which was the residence of He Shen who is a favorite minister of Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty, was built in 1777. In the northwest of Forbidden City, this residence was bestowed to Prince Gong by Emperor Xianfeng, changed as this name. It is the only one prince's mansion open to the public, and it is the most well preserved mansion in Beijing. Besides the rooms, I like its garden very much. Especially the Hunxin Pavilion, it is located in the center of a lake in garden. Surrounded by water and lotus, Huxin Pavilion is best place to fish and enjoy view. In Qing Dynasty, drawing running water into residence must be approved by the emperor, and it is the one of the rare princely mansions have the privilege. Compared with the Imperial Garden in Forbidden City, this garden has more design conceptions. Every corner shows the details of designers and owner.

Ended this tour, I recommend it to every traveler in Beijing, to enjoy the different styles in architecture.