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.
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  1. I learned something new and totally unexpected. Thank you. I also like the idea of a postcard a day. My dad turned me on to postcards when he was in the army. I wish I'd taken the stash with me when I left home. I think of him every time I send or receive one. Thanks for the wealth in this post. I plan to revisit and read on.

  2. When I look at photos like these it always reminds me how young other countries (especially the U.S.) are in comparison.

  3. Wow 16 inches is almost nothing. Very interesting.

  4. I had no idea that was called that. Blessings

  5. Fascinating. I never knew this, but it makes me feel a bit claustrophobic, like caving or something! :)

  6. Well, there is no question that I wouldn't fit through there. It's a good thing most Chinese people are small!

    Very interesting information!

  7. @Limner, thank you for your visit. I will be in touch. :)

    @Christine, even though we have a long history here in the UK, I tend to foget that some places in the world go back much, much further.

    @Odie, it seems incredible, doesn't it.

    @Linda, I hadn't heard of them either.

    @Jenny, it takes the idea of narrow alleys to a whole new level.

    @Carmen, I wouldn't fit either. :)


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