The hutongs of Beijing

These days, in order to be a fully fledged patronising Westerner/ serious photographer/ nosy tourist, it seems you must explore the poorer, more traditional, ‘real’ parts of a city.

Beijing is no different. So after being urged by various internet sources to do so, and with little choice after losing my tour group in the Forbidden City, I set about visiting the city’s hutongs.

A hutong, literally, means a narrow street or alley-way, associated with northern Chinese cities, particularly the capital. They are now associated with the classic tale whereby a traditional way of life is under threat as modernisation and development takes over a city.

Shanghai’s equivalent area Xiaonanmen is somewhere I had already explored, and found to be quite upsetting as it was manically being demolished to make room for swanky flats and high rise offices. Beijing’s older section, however, I found to be a lot calmer and peaceful, perhaps because the government has designated some hutongs as protected areas, in a bid to preserve their cultural history.

I wandered the hutongs around Nanluoguxiang (subway line 6) and Ping’anli (line 4). Despite some stares, no one was hostile and people continued on with their daily life in spite of the camera wielding sole Westerner walking around.

Hope you enjoy these shots I took that afternoon!

IMG_2318 IMG_2321 IMG_2340 IMG_2349 IMG_2354 IMG_2361 IMG_2364 IMG_2368

Now for my favourite part: adorable Chinese children, too youthful to be guarded, posing and showing off their cute pet dog.

IMG_2341 IMG_2342 IMG_2345

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s