Beijing hutongs are the pulse of the ancient city, reflecting its history and recording every aspect of the life of its people. After thousands of years of development, hutongs have become a major cultural characteristic of Beijing. Hutong tours are today an indispensable part of any visit to the city.
Peter in Beijing recently got a new assignment. His cousin, who has a special liking for hutongs, is coming for a visit. Hence Peter invited a Beijing native to give him a crash course on hutongs.
Here is a brief introduction to Guozijian and Liulichang hutongs mentioned in the video!
Guozijian Hutong, also known as Guozijian Street, goes from Andingmennei Avenue in the west to Yonghegong Avenue in the east. It is one of the top 10 hutongs in Beijing.
It is the only street in Beijing that features ancient memorial archways. There are four archways on the street, one at each of its ends and two near the Guozijian, or the Imperial College.
The street was formed in the early Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) and got its name during the reign of Emperor Qianlong (1711-99) of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).
Scenic spots: Guozijian, Temple of Confucius
Liulichang Hutong, located outside the Hepingmen (the Gate of Peace), runs from Nanbeiliu Lane in the west to Yanshousi Street in the east, and stretches about 800 meters.
The hutong is renowned for dealing with the Four Treasures of the Study (writing brush, ink stick, ink slab and writing paper). Originating in the Qing Dynasty, the hutong was where most of the Juren (successful candidates in the provincial-level imperial examination) who came to Beijing to take the national imperial examination lived. Therefore, there are many shops selling books and the Four Treasures of the Study at the hutong.
Liulichang Hutong is a famous cultural street in Beijing and one of the city's top 10 hutongs.
Scenic spots: Changdian, Former Residence of Ji Xiaolan