In Beijing, hutongs are alleys formed by lines of siheyuan, traditional courtyard residences. The number of Beijing hutongs has dropped dramatically since the 1950’s as they were demolished to make way for new roads and taller buildings. More recently, some hutongs have been designated as protected areas in an attempt to preserve this aspect of Chinese cultural history. (Wikipedia)
One attraction of the hutongs is also that they are at a human scale, whereas the 22 storey condo or apartment buildings throughout the rest of China are not. Hence, a visit to a hutong is a must for a Chinese tour and a visit to a brand new apartment tower is not.
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