Picture of A Lane in Beijing Hutong

A narrow lane in Beijing Hutong, Beijing attraction image

Hutongs first appeared in the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) after the original city was destroyed during a war. Most of the hutongs still in existence today date from the Ming (1368 - 1644) and Qing (1644 - 1911) dynasties. It is, however, still possible to find some from the Yuan Dynasty. Many hutongs have a story behind them. Near the Forbidden City in the heart of old Beijing is a hutong called "the Weaving Girl" named after the daughter of a god who descended to the human world with her sisters to swim in a river and then proceeded to fall in love with a cowherd. Her enraged father, the Celestial Emperor, took the girl back and separated the couple with the Milky Way. On the opposite side of the Forbidden City, there used to be a Cowherd Bridge. Flanked by the cowherd and the weaving girl, the suggestion was that the feudal emperors living in the Forbidden City were the sons of Heaven.

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