Hutongs are a type of narrow streets or alleys, commonly associated with northern Chinese cities.
In Beijing, hutongs are alleys formed by lines of siheyuan, traditional courtyard residences.
After the fun rickshaw tour we were then taken to a traditional house in the Hutong to see how the people there live.
Many neighbourhoods were formed by joining one siheyuan to another to form a hutong, and then joining one hutong to another. The word hutong is also used to refer to such neighbourhoods.
Our guide had arranged for an official photographer to take a photograph of our group in the square as a momento of our tour of China. He took great pains to get the group together and as soon as he had us ready we looked up to see a large group of Chinese tourists standing behind him ready to take our photo as soon as he had finished! Wherever we went in China we found that Westerners are a great source of amusement to the Chinese people. Our guide explained that lots of Chinese tourists have never seen a Westerner other than on TV hence the interest.
We made our way across the square to the Forbidden City for the next leg of our excursion.
Construction lasted 14 years and required more than a million workers. Material used include whole logs of precious Phoebe zhennan wood found in the jungles of south-western China, and large blocks of marble from quarries near Beijing. The floors of major halls were paved with "golden bricks" specially baked paving bricks from Suzhou.
and a lake.
What a way to end the day!
I hope you will join me for Part 12, the last day of our China experience, when we visit the Summer Palace and The Great Wall of China.