What Is A Hutong In Beijing of China?

Long before city designers in Europe transformed cow pathways into highways, China had established a highly orderly method of arranging communities that is known as a “hutong.” This method of community organisation is still in use today. Hutongs were constructed in a manner that was appropriate for the Zhou Dynasty and surrounding the Forbidden City, which was situated in the geographic centre of Beijing.

In the hutongs that were located to the west and east of the palace, members of the royal family as well as other imperial officials and officials’ families made their homes. The majority of the inhabitants resided in the more compact hutongs that were located farther away and to the north and south, respectively. In most cases, a single family would reside in a hutong, despite the fact that many generations of the same family might coexist under the same roof.

A hutong, sometimes spelled hu-tong, is a lane or roadway that connects two courtyards in a Chinese residential neighbourhood. The city of Beijing in China is well-known for the hundreds of hutongs that can be seen there; the majority of these alleyways were constructed throughout the Yuan, Ming, and Qing eras (1271 – 1911 AD). In the event that you find yourself in Beijing and have an interest in hutongs, you may want to pay a visit to Sanmiao Street, which is the oldest hutong in Beijing and has been there for more than nine hundred years. One of the streets in Dongxi Jiaomin Lane, which is the name of the hutong that is the longest, is more than four miles long. When compared to the length of the smallest hutong, which is currently known as Meizhuxie Street but was once known as Yi Chi Street, this fact is rather intriguing. Meizhuxie Street is just around 32 feet long.

If you haven’t been successful on your most recent diet, you shouldn’t go to Qianshi Hutong since it’s close to Qianmen. This hutong is so congested that it is physically impossible for two persons to go through it side-by-side at the same time. It is stated that if two persons arrive at each end of this street at the same time, one of them must step aside in order to let the other person pass through first.

The traditional layout of a hutong consists of a courtyard or “quadrangle.” In reality, it is a square, and rooms are erected along each of the four sides. The size of the rooms, as well as the structures and the surrounding area of the hutong complex, varies according to the wealth and rank of the people who live there. Imagine a group of four buildings that are all facing inward to a shared yard; this is an excellent mental image to have of what a hutong looks like.

The rooms, hallways, and walls of each of the structures, in addition to the critically significant Chuihua Gate, are all organised in the same fundamental manner. The Chuihua Gate creates an inner and an exterior division in the courtyard by dividing it in two. People with more wealth would have larger outside yards, and the pillars and roof beams in their homes would be artistically carved and painted with exquisite designs. People who lived a simpler lifestyle ate less complex foods but yet constructed their homes using the same ideas.

The placement of the gate and the rooms always adhered to the guidelines laid down by Feng Shui. For instance, the entrance to each room would always face the inner courtyard. In addition, there would be a pathway leading from the yard to each individual room, and the outside of each room that faced the yard would have steps leading up to it.

The Hutong social order preserved a great number of different customs. Not only did the size of the hutong change depending on the wealth and rank of the people who lived there, but different members of the family also often resided in different areas of the home. For instance, the most senior members of the family would occupy the room located at the very top of the house, while the younger members of the family would occupy the rooms located on either side. The room or rooms located in the southernmost part of the house would serve as the living room.

After the Qing dynasty, during the time between 1911 and 1948, China was susceptible to various external influences, including foreign invasion as well as domestic upheaval. This period of time falls roughly between the years 1911 and 1948. As a result of the reforms that were implemented by society and the government as a reaction to these outside forces, conditions in the hutongs deteriorated significantly. The meticulously established procedures were no longer adhered to in the construction of new hutongs, and the infrastructure of older hutongs deteriorated.

The establishment of the People’s Republic of China brought about an improvement in the situation. The majority of the old methods have been replaced by the new ways. This includes the hutong community structure, even if if you come as a tourist you will have plenty of opportunities to observe a hutong throughout your stay. In metropolitan Beijing, hutongs continue to be home to almost half of the inhabitants and occupy around one third of the land area.

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