Those hoping to catch a glimpse of the rich culture of old Beijing will be most successful in the innermost alleyways of the city, commonly called “hutongs.” By traveling down these narrow passageways of Beijing, visitors will gain an authentic view of the locals’ culture and daily life. Many of these ancient alleys that appear frozen in time were built during the Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties.
Traveling to the hutongs has been gaining popularity, and with the rapid development of this increasingly modern city, preserving the state of the hutongs has been a growing concern. Special attention has been emphasized by the government with plans of renovation and restoration; to preserve the past for the future. Ensuring the survival of the hutongs throughout time will guarantee the preservation of tradition.
As a local community, Shijia Hutong has begun to preserve its own artifacts. The Shijia Hutong Museum was Beijing’s first museum specifically for artifacts of the hutong. It can be found at Courtyard No 24 of Shijia Hutong, Dongcheng district. This community museum ensures the documentation of Shijia Hutong’s history and culture, while simultaneously increasing the quality of life for the local community.
With the rising interest in old Beijing culture, it is essential that the hutongs be maintained. These ancient buildings preserve the histories and cultures of the past Beijing. If they can be maintained by the government and local community, then people all over the world will be able to learn and understand the ancient culture of Beijing.