Hutong

Hutongs are a type of narrow streets or alleys in Beijing. The word hutong came from the Mogolian language meaning narrow street or valley. Beijing Hugongs are mostly east-west direction and are generally shorter than nine meters in width. They are alleys formed by lines of siheyuan that traditionally have four houses in four sides. The alleys between lines of siheyuan are called siheyuan. As city building in ancient Beijing was strictly planned, all Hutongs are rather straight and scattered around the Forbidden City.

Beijing is now home to 7,000-plus Hutongs and some of which were named after people, such as Wenchengxiang Hutong; some of which were named after markets and commodities, such as Jinyu Hutong; some of which have the name of Beijing dialect, such as Menhuluguan Hutong and so on and so forth. The longest hutong in Beijing is Dongxijiao Hutong that is 6.5 kilometers long; the shortest one is the Qianshi Hutong, located in Dashilan, Qianmen, which is less than 20 meters long and 0.7 meters wide. Most hutongs were built in the Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties.

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