[photos] A little bit about the hutongs of Beijing

I’ve mentioned hutongs several times. In fact, we’re going to tour one today. They’re urban villages, essentially, a very classic Chinese way of living in which a small community is completely enclosed by a larger city. Part of the appeal for me of hutongs is how they seem to draw one it. Hidden in plain sight, as it were. There’s a world-within-a-world character to them which fascinates.

Many of Beijing’s hutongs have been lost to urban renewal, but in the past few years the Chinese government has come to recognize them as important parts of urban history. Now they are being preserved, or at least no longer being eradicated.

Given that Flickr is cooperating marginally this morning, I’ve managed to upload a couple of photos.

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Hutong entrances passed by during the course of wandering around Beijing

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Partially demolished hutong behind our hotel, photographed from our 9th floor room

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