Beijing [北京] • 22 AUGUST 2015
The beautiful hutong alleys give a wonderful sight of the old way of life and traditional Beijing culture, and highlight the dramatic changes of Beijing till today. Guloudajie Road into one of Beijing's few remaining hutong neighborhoods, with narrow alleys and single story traditional courtyard houses.
The Longest One — Dongxijiaominxiang (东西交民巷)
Visiting Hutong by bike
With 6.5 kilometers in length, Dongxijiaominxiang is the longest hutong in Beijing. Dongxijiaominxiang (东交民巷) is to the east side of the Chairman Mao Memorial Hall, Tian’anmen Square and downtown Beijing, while Xijiaominxiang (西交民巷) is to the west side. Western-style buildings are all along the hutong, being well-arranged and varied in style. It is a unique place combining a hutong that has Chinese characteristics with Western buildings.
Dongxijiaominxiang is located in a very convenient position near Tian’anmen Square, the Imperial Palace and Wangfujin Walking Street.
The Shortest One — Yichidajie (一尺大街)
Yichidajie, also called One Foot Street, is only about 10 meters long and is located in the south-east, on the eastern side of Glass Street (琉璃厂东街东口东南). There are six shops in the street: the three shops in the north are engraving shops and the three in the south are a winery, a smithy and a barbershop. Now the name of Yichidajie has been withdrawn and the street is incorporated into Yangmeizhuxiejie Street (杨梅竹斜街). So the west part of Yangmeizhuxiejie Street was originally Yichidajie. Yangmeizhuxiejie Street is located to the south-west of Outer Qianmen Street, 500 meters from the west side of Dashanlan Street (大栅栏街). “The Eight Hutongs” are made up of Yichidajie and another seven hutongs near it, and was the place where hook shops were gathered in ancient China.
The Broadest One — Lingjing Hutong (灵境胡同)
Lingjing Hutong is an east-west oriented hutong in Beijing Xidan District (西单); the broadest part is 32.18 meters.
The Narrowest One — Qianshi Hutong (钱市胡同)
Qianshi Hutong is to the west side of Beijing Zhubaoshi Street (珠宝市街), near the famous commercial area of Dashanlan (大栅栏). It has long been the narrowest hutong in Beijing. It is 55 meters long, 0.7 meters in width and 0.4 meters in its narrowest part. Two people facing each other have to go through the hutong sideways. At the end of the hutong is a courtyard, with an awning above it and bedrooms beside it. The courtyard is a remnant of a monetary market in the Qing Dynasty, where ancient official currencies were exchanged, and it was an early form of a financial market.
The Most Tortuous One — Jiuwan Hutong (九湾胡同)
Jiuwan Hutong is located in the east part of Xuanwu District. Its eastern entrance is connected to Puchenshi Hutong (铺陈市胡同) and the western entrance is connected to Xiaoweiying Hutong (校尉营胡同). It is 390 meters long with more than 13 tortuous parts, which is why it is called the most tortuous hutong in Beijing.
The Oldest One — Sanmiaojie Hutong (三庙街胡同)
Sanmiaojie Hutong is behind Guohua Shopping Mall, Changchun Street, Xicheng District, Beijing. It is a historical hutong which can be dated back to 900 years ago, to the Liao Dynasty (907 AD-1125 AD).