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Beijing: 7th Grade Class Trip: Hutongs' Destruction

The history of China for middle school learners.


Hutong (hútong 胡同)
  • Narrow throughways, often alleys, most prominently present in Beijing, China
  • Mongolian word (originally hottog) meaning water well
  • Residents often lived near an area in the proximity of a spring or a well
  • Often no wider than 9 meters

Retrieved August 26, 2012, from The Arts: Architecture

Siheyuan (sì hé yuàn 四合院)
  • Courtyard houses that were quadrangles, four-sided enclosed courtyards
  • Emblematic form of traditional Chinese architecture
  • Offered space, comfort, privacy, security, protection
  • Symmetrical quality of siheyuan is reference to Confucian ideology
  • Signature double red doors with large knockers, and drum stones or lions on each side
  • Neighborhood of siheyuan houses form a hutong

Retrieved August 26, 2012, from The Arts: Architecture and  China Virtual Tours

Web Resources

Siheyuan houses formed a hutong

Siheyuan layout - a neighborhood of these "courtyard houses" formed a hutong. The dwellings were built to align with the five elements that the Chinese believed composed the universe. The entrance gate (red doors) faced southeast, the "wind" corner.
Retrieved August 26, 2012 from Beijing Hutong Tour


Hutong Map Sources