Beijing Hutongs

“Hutong” came from the Mongolian language around 700 years ago, which originally means “water well.” In other words, it means a place where people live, because people always gather where there is water. Today inBeijing, “hutong” means a small alleyway or lane. They are typical of the old part of Beijing and are formed by lines of Siheyuan (a compound made up of rooms around a courtyard) in which most Beijing residents used to live.

 How many hutongs are there in Beijing? Old Beijing residents have a saying: “There are 360 large hutongs and as many small hutongs as there are hairs on an ox.” It’s common to see groups of elderly citizens sitting together chatting or playing cards while walking through the hutongs.

 There are several hutongs in Beijing which are very famous to people, including Nannuoguxiang, Dongjiaominxiang Hutong, Yandaixiejie, Mao’er Hutong, Liulichang Street, Jinyu Hutong, etc.

Nannuoguxiang

Located between Di’anmendong Avenue and Gulou Avenue, east of Houhai, Nanluoguxiang is an 800-meter long south-north alleyway.

 

There are many bars, cafes, and chic shops in Nanluoguxiang designed in classical Chinese Hutong style.

 Dongjiaominxiang Hutong

With a length of 3 kilometers, Dongjiaominxiang Hutong is the longest Hutong in Beijing.

 

Church of Catholicism in Dongjiaominxiang Huong

 Yandaixiejie

Yandaixiejie is one of the most age-old Hutongs in Beijing, and it could be dated back to Ming Dynasty.

 

With a length of 300 meters, Yandaixiejie starts from Di’anmen Avenue in the east and ends at Shichahai Lake in the west.

 Jinyu Hutong

Jinyu Hutong, or Golden fish Hutong in Chinese, is situated near the commercial area of Wangfujing.

 Mao’er Hutong

Mao’er Hutong is generally translated as Hat or Hat Maker Lane.

 

A sight of a corner in Mao’er Hutong

 Liulichang Street

Liulichang Street is famous for its essential collection of Chinese culture.