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Nanluoguxiang Hutong

Nanluoguxiang Hutong in Beijing, China

NanluoguXiang Hutong

  is one of the oldest streets in Beijing. In the recent years, it has been the spotlights of many fashion media and magazines, and also the welcomed area for making TV series and movies. Surely, it is also the highlighted destination listed by authorities as the must-see when travelers visit Beijing.

Nanluoguxiang is situated at Beijing’s Dongcheng District, near the
Drum Tower with its northern end at Gulou Dongdajie (Drum Tower East Street,鼓楼东大街) (Walk East along Guloudong Dajie about 10-15min past the Drum Tower and look out for the street sign pointing the way to the hutong on your right-hand side.) and the southern end of Nanluogu xiang can be found at Di'anmen Dongdajie (地安门东大街). Nanluoguxiang Hutong has a history of over 800 years. This 800-meter long North-South alleyway is filled with bars, cafes, restaurants, artsy little shops, souvenir shops and cute boutiques. It is worth to spend an hour or two walking through the little alley ways and hutongs around it. Historically, since Ming and Qing Dynasties, it traditionally was the zone of affluent men. Plenty of rich men, high-level officials, and social respectable figures left their footprints here. A great many literature masters, artists, president of Kuomintang, princes and lords of Qing Dynasty as well as generals or marshals of Ming Dynasty used to reside here. 

Nanluoguxiang Hutong in Beijing, China
The above photo shows a artsy shop in the Nanluoguxiang Hutong.

Nanluoguxiang Hutong is roughly 800 meters long. A lot of famous hutongs are available if visitors plan to take a visit. The hutongs on the west side include: Fuxiang Hutong, Suoyi Hutong, Yu'er Hutong, Mao'er Hutong, Jingyang Hutong, Shajing Hutong, Heizhima Hutong, Qingulouyuan Hutong. The hutongs on the east consist of Chaodou Hutong, Banchang Hutong, Dongmianhua Hutong, Qinlao Hutong, Qianyuanensi Hutong, Houyuanensi Hutong, Ju'er Hutong. These hutone menetion above were unnamed till Ming Dynasty. For instance, Ju'er Hutong(菊儿胡同) originally was called Ju'er Hutong(局儿胡同) and later named Ju'er Hutong(橘儿胡同). The entire hutong looks like a chilopod, and so later it was also named Chilopod Street. 

Nanluoguxiang Hutong in Beijing, China

Lifang (里坊) historically was the basic unit of the ancient residential zone and also the basic organization of the urban layout construction. It was called Li(里), Lv (闾) or Lvli(闾里) before the foundation of Qin Dynasty. Since North Wei Dynasty, Fang(坊) was firstly called. In Tang Dyanasty, Chang'an, today's Xian was the world's largest city totally comprised of 108 Fangs(坊). Lifang as a basic way to design the layout of the city was also used in design of Beijing in Yuan Dynasty, and at the time, Beijing thoroughly was divided into 50 Fangs. The straight streets or lane were made between Fangs, which in general looks like a chess- playing board.

In Ming Dynasty, Beijing was divided into 28 Fangs. In Qing Dynasty, Nanluoguxiang Hutong was called Luoguo Xiang, and finalized to be Nanluoguxang Hutong when Beijing City Entire Painting was ordered to picture during the reign of Emperor Qianlong.
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