A hutong is a type of narrow street or alley most commonly associated with Beijing. Since the mid-20th century, the number of Beijing hutongs has dramatically decreased as they are facing demolition to make way for new roads and buildings. More recently, some hutongs have been designated as protected areas in an attempt to preserve this aspect of Chinese cultural history. I love walking around the hutongs when I need a break from the office (my current office is located in a particularly interesting hutong neighbourhood); they are a great exemplar of ancient urban planning and architecture, and breathe “the old way of life”.
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