Beijing Hutong & Siheyuan
Siheyuan is an historical type of courtyard residence which was widely found in ancient Beijing. The composition of siheyuan was the basic pattern used for almost all building structures in ancient Beijing, such as the palaces, temples, monasteries as well as residences. In ancient time, the area as well as the structure of the siheyuan would symbolize the wealth and prosperity of the owner especially when a spacious siheyuan is occupied by a large and extended family.
Siheyuan can be described as a courtyard surrounded by four buildings. Normally the four buildings are positioned along the north-south and east-west axes. The building which is positioned at the North facing south is considered as the Zhengfang (Main house), while the houses located at both left and right side of the Main house are called Xiangfang (Side House). The Main House and the Side Houses are connected by beautifully decorated corridors.
The narrow streets or alleys in Beijing are called as ‘Hutong‘. According to history, hutong is a Mongolian word, meaning water well which originated from Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368). Ancient Beijing was consisted of countless siheyuan, Hutongsare alleys formed by lines of siheyuan in order to leave passageway between two courtyards. By joining one siheyuan to another to form a hutong, many neighborhoods were formed. Hutongs had witness the overall development of Beijing throughout the history. Each and every hutong in Beijing has its own unique design and layout. The combination of hutongs and siheyuan is just similar to chessboard if you take a glance of old Beijing city from above. The best way to discover more about hutongs is to have a rickshaw ride to experience Beijing Hutong tours. The ride will definitely bring you to the old ancient Beijing life and guarantee you an unforgettable and memorable stay in Beijing.