Picture of Siheyuan in Beijing Hutong

The Beijing Hutong has a very special and important position in the rich history and culture of Beijing, Beijing attraction image

A standard siheyuan usually consists of houses on its four sides, and the house which stands at the north end and faces the south is called the "main house" or "north house," the ones on both sides are called "side houses," and the one which stands at the south end and faces north is called "opposite house" or "south house."

The siheyuan's gate is usually at the southeastern corner according to the traditional concepts of the five elements that were believed to compose the universe, and the eight diagrams of divination. Normally there is a screen-wall inside the gate so that outsiders cannot see directly into the courtyard and it is also believed to protect the houses from evil spirits. Outside the gate of some large siheyuan, there is a pair of stone lions on each side. Such a residence offers space, comfort and quiet privacy. It is also good for security as well as protection against dust and storms.

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