Picture of Doorway in Beijing Hutong

Beijing's hutongs are a museum of Beijing's folk custom and they are a witness to the city's history, Beijing attraction image

So imporant are the hutongs to the culture of Beijing that there have been many operas, plays and films about them. Lao She (1899 - 1966), one of 20th century China's greatest novelists and playwrights, is responsible for one such homily. His "Teahouse" is set in what is often the focal point of a hutong community and brings together several characters from the old streets of Beijing to discuss the problems of traditional society. A more modern love song for the hutongs is Zhang Yang's "Shower" (1999) about a tradtional bath house where men from the community gather to drink tea, receive massages, fight crickets and escape their marital problems. The film laments the loss of such old ways of life as the hutongs are being knocked down to make way for modern blocks of flats.

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