Tuesday, 19 July 2011
In Beijing, rows of traditional courtyard residences were joined together, resulting in narrow alleys called hutongs. Sometimes several hutongs were joined together. In an effort to prevent so many of these traditional alleys being demolished and so losing cultural history, some have been made protected areas. The culture is of the everyday people of Beijing, in contrast to the culture of the elite in the Forbidden City or the Summer Palace.
Most hutongs are straight but Jiudaowan ("Nine Turns") has, in fact, nineteen turns. The further they were from the Forbidden City, the narrower the hutongs became. Qianshi Hutong is only 40 cm (16 inches) wide at its narrowest point.