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Real Feature of Beijing - Old Hutong

What are the most characteristic and the feature of Beijing? That is the hutongs. It is the ordinary feature of Beijing, but it is also the representative of Beijing. Today, I will take you to enjoy the most famous hutong or old streets in Beijing.

Beijing Nanluoguxiang

Nanluoguxiang, one of the oldest street areas in Beijing, has the most well-preserved quadrangle courtyard, lists in the planning area. From north to south, Nanluoguxiang is 800 meters totally, and longer than Yandai Xiejie. There are 8 hutongs in east and west individually, and they are all symmetrical. Every hutong has the trace of history. Also, Nanluoguxiang is a famous bar street. The bars on this street are courtyard and single-storey house mainly. Every door is hung red lanterns, and their decorated style returns tradition and brief, and obey the atmosphere and style of quadrangle courtyard. Different with Houhai and Sanlitun, the bars in Nanluoguxiang are quiet mostly, show harmony and nature, and away from the noisy of city. Nanluoguxiang is always the hot point of magazine and news, and even the background of TV play.

Scenery along Yandaixiejie

Yandai Xiejie, located at northeast of Qianhai in Shi Cha Hai, is the oldest business in Beijing, and it is the business pedestrian has traditional cultural characteristic. Yandai Xiejie is 232 meters totally, and close to the one of the Eight sights of Yaning – Yingding Guanshan. It is named as Yandai Xiejie just because it is seemed like tobacco pipe from full view. The constructions in both sides of Yandai Xiejie are all elegant and simple, with strong style of Ming and Qing Dynasties. This style is the biggest highlight of this whole street. The resident form of shop in front and live in back shows the heavy town amorous feelings and full-bodied old Beijing characteristic. Seems like a time tunnel, when you walking in it, you will find the fashioned tourists seek various toys or accessories in different skins and languages. Suddenly, you catch the feeling that you do not know where you are and when it is. There are various courtyards sits in Yandai Xiejie. It is not only the business old street, but also the ancient cultural street.

You can find more similar streets and hutongs in Beijing. Would you like them? Just appreciate and enjoy them!

Rediscover the Beauty of Beijing - Hutong

A mention of hutong tour of old Beijing, mounts of people think of the Nanluoguxiang firstly. Seemingly, the Nanluoguxiang has become the pronoun of Beijing hutong tour. In fact, the Nanluoguxiang, full of local Beijing culture, changed more and more noisy. It is not the Nanluoguxiang in our mind. Nowadays, the hipsters find a new place – Wudaoying Hutong, characteristic with folk culture. Close to Lama Temple, the superior geographic location is called as "Next Stop Nanluo" by these developers.

Wudaoying Hutong in Beijing

More international, more compatibility! Even a small hutong of old Beijing has more tolerance and forgiveness, including the noble culture and the popular literature. Mixed beauty is performed perfectly. Romantic restaurants, leisurely coffee houses and delicate shops, all gathered at Wudaoying Hutong. As the background, the sihe courtyards and residences recount their stories. Perhaps, you could meet the aunt with flip flops to buy the breakfast, and you could also meet the fashion young in modern clothes. The foreigners ride across these hutongs, kids play the sands, if you are lucky enough, you have chance to enjoy the shouts of street vendors. This is Wudaoying Hutong, a creative cultural folk custom hutong.

Walking around this hutong, you could find many characteristic shops. From the decorations and characters of these shops, you could distinguish the obvious style of their owners.

Teahouse in Wudaoying Hutong

The Yard, located at NO. 55 in Wudaoying Hutong, is a tea house. Owing to its location, his logo is the other style of 55. With small frontispiece, this tea house has another feeling in the courtyard. A fruiter sitting in the yard, no matter have seat under the tree or the terrace of second floor, you can enjoy the quiet and unique style easily. I hope the owner could raise more cats, sleeping under the big tree. Next time, I must save much money enough to have a seat in second floor, talk the life and taste tea.

The Save As, take you to aftertaste the old times, was closed when I get there. Through window, I looked the old ceiling fan, white and black TV come from long time ago, enamel washbasin, etc. Full of the old style goods, describe the painting of home when we were young in perfect order. Memory should be recorded by these little things specifically. Though the digital camera, DV and computer have been popularized in every home, and make our records more and more convenient, make the memory becomes more and more unreliable. Just like the slogan out of shop door: No records, no happen.

Give you chance to wake up your memory, Wudaoying Hutong just sits there!

History and Appearance of Hutong in Beijing

Hutong is one of the culture marks of Beijing and I was interested in it. This time I got the chance to walk through the narrow hutongs (with long history) to experience the real local life in Beijing. My tour began at Old Drum Tower Street and ended to Prince Gong's Mansion (via many historical sites and old hutongs including Bell Tower, Drum Tower, Yandaixiejie, Yinding Bridge).

Bell and Drum Tower in Beijing

Bell and Drum Tower are the two landmarks of old Beijing located in the city center. There are only about 100 meters distance the two towers. The Drum Tower is more beautiful than the Bell Tower. I did not pay 20 yuan for the entrance tickets instead just stand at the foot of the towers and took some panoramic photos. Walk along the street, within 10 minutes, I got to the famous hutong – Yandaixiejie.

Yandaixiejie - Old Hutong with Long History

Yandaixiejie also named as Tobacco Pipe Lane, is one of the oldest streets in Beijing. Ethnic shops and various bars and cafes are opened here which attract lots of tourists from in and abroad. In the past, in this hutong there were only tobacco pouches and smoking sets were sold and nowadays, it has been rebuilt as a commercial street where there are more than 60 stores specializing in the sale of tobacco pipes, lanterns, kites, tea sets, curios, national costumes, folk craftwork and traditional needlework.

Are you fond of the origin of its name Yandaixiejie? Here are two reasons. During the Qing Dynasty, people lived in Beijing liked tobaccos very much, which caused the increasing demand of tobacco pipe. Therefore, more and more tobacco pipe shops were opened in the street. Another reason is that it is said the Yandaixiejie looks like a tobacco pipe in its shape - its gracile street is the tobacco pipe while the entrance in the east end is its mouth and the west entrance is the hollow. Therefore, Yandaixiejie got its name.

At the end of Yandaixiejie there is standing another historical site called Yinding Bridge. In the history, it was very much like a silver ingot upside down, so hence the name. Now it is a narrow channel joining Qianhai Lake and the Houhai Lake, the hub of Shichhai area with surrounding quiet hutongs. Standing on the bridge and viewing the lotus in summer has now become one of the most beautiful scenery in downtown Beijing.

Went on along Qianhai Lake with gentle breeze and wander through hutongs, we got the destination of Prince Gong's Mansion. Along the street, there are a lot of rickshaws for hutong tour. And the drivers will tell you much about the history of the old hutongs.

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