One of Beijing’s lesser-known historical attractions are its Hutongs surrounding the Forbidden City which I visited (when lost) on my way to Beihai Park. These fascinating ancient residential areas are made up of narrow alleyways with traditional buildings arranged in closely packed quadrangles. As if looking through a window onto a lost world you get the feeling of stepping back in time here (even the locals look authentically old!), but still within sight of the icons of modernity that dominate Beijing’s skyline.
Unfortunately, many Hutongs are being systematically destroyed but luckily some are now designated protected areas. Still, as seems to be the general case in China: Out with the old, in with the new…
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These hutongs look really fascinating. Did you see this site of photos of the hutongs?
Oh wow, those photos are a lot better that mine – they look like they came from a different area to the one I visited. Definitely worth another visit I think!
Have you seen the “birds nest” stadium yet David?
if so, any pics you can email me?
I am very facinated by this structure.
Yeah, I've not seen it yet but it's on my list of places to visit – I'll definitely get some pics when it do 🙂