A Hutong in Qianmen Dajie [Photo/CRIENGLISH.com]
A Hutong is a traditional alley, characteristic of an old Beijing city. A total of 7000 Hutongs have been built throughout the capital in straight lines under strict construction guildlines. The longest Hutong starts from the Beijing Legation Quarter, Dong Jiao Min Xiang,to the Xijiao Min Xiang, and has a total length of 6.5 kilometers, while the shortest Hutong is One-inch Street at only several meters' long. The narrowest Hutong is only about 0.7 meters wide. Therefore, people carrying even a little bit of extra weight have to hold their breath to pass through it. Formed during the Yuan, Ming and Qing, dynasties thousands of Hutongs surround the supreme Imperial Palace from all directions. They are woven into the fabric of people's daily lives.
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