The next item on my list was exploring the Hutongs – “narrow streets or alleys” in the North East neighbourhood of Beijing. In fact, these small alleys are formed by lines of traditional, tiny houses with courtyards. There’s really not a lot of space! It’s one of the must-see in Beijing according to Lonely Planet.
Sadly, many of the old Hutongs have been demolished, and replaced by boulevards and appartement buildings with modern amenities. It’s really a shame! But apparently, the government is taking some actions to preserve the Chinese culture & history of Hutongs. And thus, some areas are now designated as protected, and can’t be demolished anymore.
It’s actually the case for the several hundred years old Hutongs in the vicinity of the Bell and Drum Tower and Shichahai Lake.
The bell and drum were originally used as musical instruments in China.
Afterward, however, they were used for telling time. The bell is made of copper, and I can assure you can hear it from far away, a round, loud and clear sound!
This area is really crowded, it’s really popular with Chinese tourists!
You can actually do a tour of the Shichahai Lake in pedicabs. I chose to do it by foot…a bit of exercise won’t hurt after all I’ve eaten lately!
It was a (cold), blue sky day and I had a great playlist music, so I was all set up for a good long walk around the Hutongs! Just a perfect day!