As the capital of China, Beijing is blessed with long history, splendid culture and profound heritage; at the same time, the mountains and rivers and countless sceneries in Beijing are beautiful in all seasons! Then how to plan your trip to Beijing? Tourists visiting Beijing for the first time may have such worries. In order to make it more convenient for you to travel in Beijing, we will present you with the Beijing “N Day Tour” series of travel tips.
What should be on your list if you are staying in Beijing for the fifth day?
1. Prince Gong’s Mansion
The Museum of Prince Gong’s Mansion belongs to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the People’s Republic of China. It is a comprehensive public cultural institution that integrates functions such as cultural relics protection, museum construction, tourism operation, cultural space creation, and cultural industry development. It was listed as a national key cultural relics protection unit in 1982, promoted to a national 5A-level tourist scenic spot in 2012, and was rated as a national first-class museum in 2017.
As the most well-preserved Mansion from the Qing Dynasty and the only one open to the society, Prince Gong’s Mansion has experienced more than 240 years of ups and downs. There are many scenic spots in the Mansion, among which Grand Theatre, the Two Story Building and the Western-style Gate are called the three must-sees of Prince Gong’s Mansion. The main tourist attractions include:
The Grand Theatre
The Grand Theatre of Prince Gong’s Mansion was built during the reign of Tongzhi (1862-1874), and used to be the place where Prince Gong and his relatives watched dramas. This theatre is a only fully-enclosed one in China. In the Qing court archives, all theatres are called “Daxifang (big theatre rooms)”. The building area is 685㎡, and its construction adopts a three-volume hook to connect a fully enclosed structure. It is said that although the entire opera building is brick-wood structured, no iron nail is used at all. Especially worth mentioning is the sound effects of the Grand Theatre. In order to ensure the realistic sound of the theatre, a large number of large cylinders are placed in the hollow under the stage. The clever and special structure increases the resonance reverberation space, so that audiences can listen clearly any place in the theatre even when actors are not equipped with any amplifier. Once, a famous singer came here to sing and excitedly praised the Grand Theatre for its better sound effects compared to concert halls.
In the Peony Garden, the exterior of the theatre is not that worth mentioning, but the interior is magnificent. The two large columns on both sides of the stage, the four walls and the ceiling are all painted with twigs of vines. A green leafy forest and purple flowers blooming, giving people the feeling of watching the drama under the vines frame. It is said that even the Empress Dowager Cixi was sitting in the yard when watching theatres. Prince Gong was worried about being convicted of overruling, so he carefully painted vines on the roof, meaning that this was a vine plant rather than a lobby. There are 20 large palace lamps hanging on the ceiling, dark bricks covering the ground, 20 tables equipped with armchairs, all placed orderly. The back wall of the theatre is all light brown wooden mullions, with dark blue silk cloth as the bottom lining decoration. On the south side of the hall is a stage about one meter high. Above the stage, a black plaque with gold characters hangs high, and there are four seal characters “Shangxinleshi”, meaning “pleasures that ease my heart”. In the south, there is a makeup room for actors, the stage is at the front, and places for VIPs and women to watch and relax are in the north. Yixin was born in late October of the lunar calendar and fire was needed during the birthday celebration, thus the Grand Theatre was also called “warm building” by people living there. In addition to performances, this place in the Prince Gong’s Mansion was also where weddings and funerals were held. Every time an important person in the Mansion passed away, the theatre will be covered with funeral decorations and memorial words. Smoke of incense rose in volutes, with long cloth hanging high, monks from relevant temples will come and pray for the dead.
In 1936, the grandson of Prince Yixin, the famous painter Puru, who lived in the garden at that time, celebrated the birthday of his mother, Mrs. Xiang Tai, and held a party in the theatre. At that time, the famous actors of the Peking Opera gathered here, and performed on this stage. This was the last party drama in the Grand Theatre of Prince Gong’s Mansion. Now, the performances of the Grand Theatre include Beijing Opera and Kunqu Opera, and Mansion Music is the most distinctive. The Mansion Music is dominated by Sanxian, a three-stringed Chinese lute. Seven kinds of musical instruments together form the magnificent and solemn melody. When former Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew visited China, he specifically mentioned to go to the Prince Gong’s Mansion to enjoy the music at the Grand Theatre. During the nearly two-hour performance, the Prime Minister was intoxicated and praised the Chinese classical music and the theatre.
Xiyangmen (the Western-style Gate)
Located at the southernmost end of Garden Middle Road, Xiyangmen is the main entrance of the garden. It is called “Jinghan Taigu” and was built by Yixin. Its gate is made of Han White Marble, imitating the Dashuifa Gate in the Old Summer Palace. Its Western arch style is very impressive. The head of the Gate is engraved with “Jinghan Taigu” and “Xiuyin Hengchun” on its outer and inner side respectively, meaning “Jing (quiet)” and “Xiu (delicate)” are the two realms the garden owner wishes to reach. In addition, the gardeners used this metaphor for fairyland, combined with the style of nature inside the gate, and merged the concepts of “quiet” and “antique”, adding to the garden’s sense of history and time and space. Xiyangmen is also the only Western-style building in the garden, which can reflect the owner’s desire to save the government of Qing Dynasty by learning Western culture and technology.
The Two-Story Building
The Two-Story building is located at the junction of the mansion and the garden. 111 houses are connected with each other in a row, forming a line of more than 180 meters.
It is the longest building among China’s mansions. Known as “99 and a half houses”, it is one of the three masterpieces of Prince Gong’s Mansion. Zhanji Tower is to the east part of the Two-Story Building, and Baoyue Tower is to the west. The five rooms at the west end are commonly known as “little labyrinths”. It has the only indoor garden in China. Floors are removed between the two layers, and pavilions, rockery and streams are moved into the house. These indoor gardens connect the upstairs and downstairs together, with rockery stacked, a waterfall is formed, all the the pavilions, small bridges and streams are very delicate.
The front eaves of this building reach out of the corridor, and each wall on the rear eaves has a window. The upper layers are decorated with windows of different shapes and forms. The windows are carved with fine bricks and the wooden stairs imitate rockery. There is an aisle door on the lower level of the west-central building, leading to the garden behind the Mansion.
The “Fu” Stele
The “Fu” Stele is located in the Miyun Cave and was carved based on the handwriting of the Qing Dynasty emperor Kangxi. This stsle is 7.9 meters long and runs through the entire rockery. On the ground in front of the monument is a Chinese chess board made of broken stones, each element is square and clearly visible.
Emperor Kangxi is a master of calligraphy, but he seldom wrote inscriptions, the word “Fu (happiness)” here is extremely precious. Moreover, this “Fu” character is vigorous, powerful, and can be decomposed into more fields, more children, more talents and longevity. The ingenious concept can be called the first “blessing” in the world.
This stele written by Kangxi is a symbol of “praying for happiness and longevity”, and has been collected carefully by the royal family as a national treasure. During Qianlong’s reign, this stele disappeared mysteriously. Throughout his life, the most admired person of Emperor Qianlong was his grandfather Kangxi. Therefore, Qianlong couldn’t relieve the disappearance of Kangxi’s “Fu”. However, when Jiaqing took the throne and asked Qianlong about Kangxi’s “Fu”, Qianlong said only a few words after being silent for a long time: “It’s blessing ordinary people in its ordinary form.” Another saying is that Qianlong gave this “world’s No.1 longevity blessing” to his favoured official He Shen, and He Shen asked people to send thousands of Taihu stones to build a giant Beijing dragon in the Back Garden. This dragon just locates in the dragon vein of Beijing, and he hid the “world’s No.1 longevity blessing” in the dragon cave, which he called “a Cave with Heavenly Blessing”. From then on, He Shen became extremely lucky and prosperous, and owned as much money as the government did.
According to He Shen’s design, the dragon vein lies in the cave under Dicui Stone, and the centre of the dragon vein is the “Fu” Stele. When Jiaqing confiscated He Shen’s estates, he wanted to take the Fu Stele, but if so, the dragon vein would be broken and the blessing was interrupted. This was the tabooest of the ancients, so he sealed the whole “Fu” Stele with stones, not even allowing other people to take this bless. In 1962, when Premier Zhou Enlai was in charge of the rebuilding of Prince Gong’s Mansion, archaeologists accidentally discovered this precious Stele in the Miyun Cave in the Back Garden of the Mansion. The Prime Minister gladly named it the “No.1 Blessing of China”, also known as “the World’s No.1 Blessing”.
Tickets: 40 yuan/person (Selling starts 10 days in advance, and will close until sold out.) For online ticket purchase
Opening hours: Open at 8:30; Checking-in is closed at 16:10; The Mansion is closed at 17:00 (holidays excluded, and closed all day on Monday). Tickets: 40 yuan/person
Subway: Take Metro Line 6, get off at Beihai North Station, and exit at Northeast Exit B. Route 1: Walk along the Sanzuoqiao Hutong for 200 meters; Route 2: Walk along Longtoujing Street for 300 meters. Please follow the red mark in the picture to get to Gate 1 of Prince Gong’s Mansion:
Bus: Take Bus 3, 13, 42, 107, 111, 118, 612, 701 or Sightseeing Line 3 and get off at Beihai Beimen Station.
Self-driving: Route 1: From Di’anmen West Street to Qianhai West Street northbound, please follow the red sign below:
Route 2: Follow Deshengmennei Street southward to Dingfu Street eastbound, please follow the red sign below:
Address: No.17, Qianhai West Street, Xicheng District, Beijing
2. Military Museum of the Chinese People’s Revolution
The Military Museum of the Chinese People's Revolution is China’s first comprehensive military museum, located at No.9, Fuxing Road, Beijing. The exhibition building was built in October 1958, completed in July 1959, and officially opened on August 1, 1960. It is one of the top ten buildings in the capital dedicated to the 10th anniversary of the National Day. In September 2012, the Military Museum reinforced the exhibition building and the project was completed in July 2017. After reinforcement and reconstruction, the area of the exhibition building of the Military Museum is 159,000 ㎡, with a display area of nearly 60,000 ㎡. The main building is 94.7 meters high, with 4 floors on both north and south sides, and a huge Chinese People’s Liberation Army emblem with a diameter of 6 meters is installed on the top of the building. The whole museum has 43 exhibition halls (rooms).
The Military Museum mainly collects, researches, and displays cultural relics, objects, documents, and materials that reflect the course of the military struggle led by the Communist Party of China and the achievements of the People’s Army, as well as cultural relics, objects, documents and other materials that reflect the 5,000-year military history of the Chinese nation and the world’s military history.
Cultural relics collection. The cultural relics in the military museum mainly reflect the military history of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, the ancient China and the world. The featured cultural relics include weapons, military uniforms, badges, and military-themed artworks. There are more than 180,000 pieces of cultural relics, among which 1793 pieces are first-class items. The collection of cultural relics includes aircraft, artillery, ships, missiles, firearms, ammunition, cold weapons, medals, badges, seals, coins, pottery, porcelain, utensils, clothing, flags, documents, notes, etc. Representative cultural relics include: Terracotta Warriors of the Qin Dynasty, Iron Pi (a kind of arm) of the Western Han Dynasty, hook inlays of the Han Dynasty, tiger tally of the Sui Dynasty, Bronze Chong (a kind of gun) of the 11th year of Zhizheng’s reign in the Yuan Dynasty, Bowl-shape Chong in the 5th year of the Ming Dynasty Hongwu’s reign, Bronze Chong in the 10th year of the Ming Dynasty Hongwu’s reign, and Dongsifang Jin’s and Wangyu’s Ivory Waist Cards of the Ming Dynasty, Shenwei Wudi General Cannon of the Qing Dynasty, Taiping Heavenly Kingdom Iron Cannon, Zuo Zongtang’s Seal, Ding Ruchang’s Tabard, “Zhenyuan” Ship Iron Anchor, Jinling Machine Bureau Copper Cannon, Gatling Machine Gun, Ye Ting’s command knife used in the Northern Expedition War, the pistol used by Zhu De in the Nanchang Uprising, the leather leggings given by Mao Zedong to Yuan Wencai, He Long’s lion button seal, the first radio station of the Red Army, the seal of the Central Revolutionary Military Commission, the red star medal of Zhou Enlai, the iron links on Luding bridge, He Long’s handwriting on the flag “prosper the nation”, the mortar served in the Huangtuling battle, Yang Jingyu’s seal, Zuoquan’s revolver, and the “August 1” horse rifle produced by the Eighth Route Army Military Department, Commander-in-Chief Okamura Ning’s sword when the Japanese surrendered, PLA’s first tank “Gongchen”, the key of Peiping (now Beijing) city gate, Huang Jiguang’s Korean Gold Star Medal, Wang Hai’s MiG-15 fighter jet, Hero Gunboat of the sea battle of Toumenshan, and the U2 aircraft, etc.
The Military Museum’s exhibition system is dominated by military history, mainly including:
1. Exhibition of Revolutionary Wars Led by the Communist Party of China
This exhibition shows the magnificent history of revolutionary wars over the past 20 years (1921-1949) that the Chinese Communist Party led the People’s Army to overthrow the “three oppressive mountains” of feudalism, capitalism and semi-colonialism, and is divided into three parts: the Land Revolutionary War, the National Sino-Japanese War, and the National Liberation War.
2. New China National Defence and Army Construction Exhibition (under construction)
This exhibition shows the history and glorious achievements of the People’s Army’s revolutionization, regularization and modernization construction since the founding of New China, in particular, People’s Army’s great achievements in faithfully fulfilling its mission, defending and building the country, and obeying the Party’s command; can fight and win; and maintaining excellent conduct.
3. Weapon Exhibition
This exhibition is distributed on three floors: B1F, 1F and 2F. It focuses on the weapons and equipment seized and used by the People’s Army, especially its meritorious weapons. With the fighting spirit and glorious tradition of inferiority and superiority, it demonstrates the development of new China’s weapons and equipment from scratch to strength.
4. Exhibition of Military throughout Chinese history
Taking the development and evolution of China’s military history as the context, the restoration of civilization achievements such as war practice, weapons and equipment, military systems, military ideas and other Chinese civilizations throughout the ages highlights the patriotic tradition of the Chinese nation’s perseverance and self-improvement, audiences can wander through the profound military culture China, exploring the glorious footprint of the development of Chinese civilization, soak up the fine traditions of the Chinese nation.
5. Military Technology Exhibition
Exhibition areas include Army heavy and light weapon equipment technology, Navy weapon equipment technology, Air Force weapon equipment technology, missile weapon equipment technology, nuclear weapons and nuclear technology for peaceful use. Through introducing national defence science and technology, military technology knowledge of various arms, and the use of modern science and technology display methods and means, the museum aims to enhance the audiences’ scientific quality, promote scientific spirit, popularize scientific knowledge, and spread scientific methods.
6. Red Memory - Exhibition of Revolutionary Military Art Works
The exhibition includes oil paintings, sculptures and Chinese paintings, etc. By displaying the masterpieces of military themes by military and internal artists, the museum fully demonstrates the glorious image and spiritual outlook of the people’s army led by the Party, and fully demonstrates the great achievements of the development and construction of the people’s army.
Tips for visiting:
Free entry, but you need to use your real name to make an appointment.
Ways of appointment:
1. Individual reservations: Visitors holding a second-generation ID card can go directly to the East Ticketing Hall to verify admission without picking up tickets; visitors with other valid IDs should go to the East Ticketing Window to pick up the tickets to enter the museum.
2. Group reservations: Groups reserved by the reservation person holding second-generation ID card can go directly to the East Ticketing Hall for verification and bring the group into the museum without collecting tickets; groups reserved by the reservation person with other valid IDs, please go to the East Ticketing Window for group tickets before entering the museum.
For unreserved visitors: Go to the West Ticketing Window ID cards or other valid IDs to collect tickets and enter the museum.
For Green Channel visitors: Visitors holding seniority certificates, disability certificates, military officer or soldier IDs can directly enter the hall from the green channels on both east and west sides with their corresponding IDs, and no ticket is required. Disabled visitors with limited mobility may be accompanied by a relative or friend.
Reservation rules: Individuals and groups can make reservations for effective visits within 10 days, and need to provide corresponding information according to the requirements of this site. The appointment time of visiting is divided into mornings and afternoons. The latest time for ticket-collecting in the morning is 12:00, and 16:00 in the afternoon is 16:00. Please make an appointment according to due time slot.
Ticket collection location: Ticketing Halls on the east and west sides of the main entrance of the Military Museum.
Opening hours: 09:00 ~ 17:00 (invoice service stops at 16:00), closed on Mondays (open on Mondays during national holidays)
Address: No. 9, Fuxing Road, Haidian District, Beijing
Transport: Metro Line 1 and Line 9, Military Museum Station
The Shichahai Scenic Area is a 4A tourism destination that combines natural and cultural senerials, and is highly concentrated in cultural relics and historic sites, and has a long history of folk activities. It is a historical and cultural scenic spot in Beijing and the birthplace of Beijing City. “West Lake in Spring, Qinhuai River in Summer, and Dongting Lake in Autumn.” These are the metaphors the book “Scenic Spots in the Capital Beijing” used for praising Shichahai. Shichahai is the only open scenic spot in the inner city of old Beijing with open water. Because of its beautiful scenery, it is known as the “water town in north China”.
How did Shichahai get its name?
The origin of Shichahai is the old route of the Yongding River, which is the confluence of the Sanggan River in Ningwu County, Shanxi Province, and the Yanghe River in Xinghe County, Inner Mongolia. It passed through the current urban area of Beijing. When the sorghum river was congested, it accumulated into a lake, forming the prototype of the Shichahai Sea.
In the Song Dynasty, in order to promote the division to attack Nanjing in Liao, Song Qi’s army used lakes along the Sorghum River to form a barrier against the Liao side’s reinforcements. In the Jin Dynasty, for the white lotus growing in the lake, people called it Bailiantan (White Lotus Lake), which later became Zhongdu Water transport terminal in the Jin Dynasty. In the 13th century, Mongolia took over Jin Dynasty, and as the original palace in the capital was destroyed in fire, Kublai Khan decided to build a new capital city. Shichahai was one of the most basic foundations of Yuan Dadu’s planning and design. The central axis of the city from north to south is close to the Jishuitan, and the city walls on all four sides of the metropolis was built according to its distance from the southeast bank of the Jishuitan. The Yuan Dynasty relied on this water area to determine the central axis of the capital construction on its east bank. Shichahai then became the core of the urban planning and water system of the three dynasties of Yuan, Ming and Qing.
In order to solve the problem of food supply, Shichahai became the ferry terminal of the northern end of the Grand Canal, which greatly expanded the water area of Shichahai, so there is the saying that “the Beijing City was formed after Shichahai”. Huang Wenzhong of the Yuan Dynasty wrote in his Song of Dadu that “The number of sculls in the water is more than that of the fish in Dongming Sea. The number of masts in the wind are more than that of the bamboo shoots in Nanshan Mountain.” Picturing the prosperity of that time.
When the Ming Dynasty was established, the initial capital was set in Nanjing, and there was no need for water transportation. Therefore, Shichahai gradually became deserted. When Ming Dynasty ancestor Zhu Di moved to Beijing, there was no time to renovate Shichahai, and the ferry was moved to Tongzhou District. The water area of Shichahai shrank a lot, with the land became tourist destination and residential area. With more and more wealthy families moving here, various temples have been built, and it is worth noting that one of the large temples here is named “Shichahai”.
“Scenic Spots in the Capital Beijing” includes a description of Shichahai, which means: “There is no other Beijing Buddhist temple as simple as Shichahai. It covers an area of 50 acres and has more than 30 houses, each of which is as narrow as the room in the imperial examination, and the doors and windows are ordinary wood and bricks, the Buddha Shrine in the temple only occupies a monastery room, which is no bigger than other places. This is to praise Shichahai for its simplicity, hard work, and no luxury, which is in line with the original intention of the Buddha.
The temple is located inside Deshengmen, and was originally named Shichahai (十刹海), and later renamed Shichahai (什刹海). In Buddhism, sea is the metaphor of the vast and boundless truth, thus Shi (ten) here is not an exact number, but is similar to “Shi Shan (ten goodness)” and “Shi E (ten badness)”, in which “Shi (ten)” refers to “many”. Many (Shi) moments (cha) becomes the sea (hai), the name itself already contains Buddhism witness. As this temple is very famous, it has gradually become a substitute for place names, which may be the real origin of the name of Shichahai. (The above content is mainly quoted from “Beijing Local Chronicles · People’s Life Chronicles”)
Shichahai has a long history
There were people living by Shichahai since Tang Dynasty. There are now “Tang Dynasty pagoda trees” besides the Guketing in the Beihai painting gurnard and the Zhenshan pavilion behind Jingshan, which are the witness of history. Shichahai was called Bailiantan in the Liao and Jin Dynasties, proving that the lotus flowers in Shichahai in the Liao and Jin Dynasties were already prosperous. In the Yuan Dynasty, Shichahai was called Jishuitan or Haizi. In the Qing Dynasty, the water on west side of Desheng Bridge was still called Jishuitan, and as there was Jingye Temple on its north bank, it was also called Jingye Lake. The water surface between Desheng Bridge and Yinding Bridge is Shichahai. The water east of Yindingqiao is rich in lotus flowers, which was the best place to enjoy lotus flowers in the capital at that time. Therefore, the water there is also called “Lotus Paozi”. After the founding of New China, the above three water surfaces were also referred to as the West Sea, the Back Sea and the Front Sea, collectively called Shichahai. In order to distinguish it from the former three seas (Beihai, or the North Sea, and Zhongnanhai, or the Central and Southern Seas), Shichahai is also called the Back Three Seas.
“The Beijing City was formed after Shichahai”
When Yuan Dynasty took over Jin, the once luxurious Jin Zhongdu (near Guanganmen, using the water system of the Lotus Pond) was burned into ruins by the Yuan Army. When re-selecting the site to build the capital, Kublai Khan listened to the proposal of the imperial chancellor Liu Bingzhong and used the water system of Jishuitan and Beihai and Zhongnanhai to build the capital. At this time, the Beihai and Zhongnanhai, due to the construction of the Liao and Jin Dynasties, had become Beijing’s famous royal gardens. The “Qiongdaochunyin (Jade Islet in Springtime)” and “Taiyeqiubo (Taiye Lake (Now Zhongnanhai) in Autumn Breeze)” of the famous “8 Great Yanjing Sights” just locate here. In addition, as the imperial palace of Jin Zhongdu was burnt at that time, Kublai temporarily stayed in the “Qiongyu” and “Daning Palace (a palace built during the Liao and Jin Dynasty)” in the Beihai, thus decided to take the east side of Jishuitan and Beihai and Zhongnanhai as the central axis of the new capital city, and the capital city of the Yuan Dynasty (that is, Beijing) was built. Construction began in the fourth years of Yuan Dynasty Zhiyuan’s reign (1267), and was completed in the thirteenth year (1276). Therefore, a popular saying goes in old Beijing as: “The Beijing City was formed after Shichahai”.
Lotus in Shichahai
In the Ming and Qing Dynasties, Shichahai was no longer a ferry. With green willows drooping on the shore, and the lake full of pink lotus, the scenery there was very beautiful. Many poets and writers have inscribed poems and verses. For example, there’s a famous sentence in “Dumen Zayong: “Ten miles of lotus flowers continue to flow, with evening breeze over the grain bridge blows.” “Yanjing Diary” describes it as: “Shichahai is to the west of Di’anmen, where the lotus is the most prosperous, with ladies gathering in June. When lotus bloom, the north bank has the best scenery - green willows drooping, flowers in lovely red and pink like human faces, with their shadows blurred. It’s really hard to differentiate ladies and flowers.”
The royal residence and celebrities’ former residences around Shichahai
The main mansions around Shichahai include Prince Gong’s, Prince Chun’s, Prince Qing’s, Prince Tao’s and Tao Beile’s mansions, etc. These palaces are under protection and in good condition now. The modern celebrities who lived here in earlier times mainly include Song Qingling, Guo Moruo, Mei Lanfang, Fu Jie, Zhang Boju, Ma Haide, Zhang Zhidong, Xiao Jun, Tian Jian and so on.
The ancient temples on the banks of Shichahai include Shichahai Temple (now a large residential complex), Huitong Temple (now Guo Shoujing Memorial Museum), Guanghua Temple (now the Beijing Buddhist Association, it was also once the earliest site of the Beijing Library), Jingye Temple, Guangfu Temple, Huoshen Temple, etc., which have all been restored.
The ancient stone arch bridges in Shichahai include Yinding Bridge, Desheng Bridge and Wanning Bridge. The time-honored brands include the Barbecue Ji and the former site of Huixian Hall. The scene “Mountain View over Yinding” by the Yinding Bridge was once the best place for Wangxi Mountain in Beijing. The ancient commercial streets include Yandaixie Street, Baimixie Street, and Lotus Market, etc. Yandaixie Street’s history as an ancient commercial street can be traced back to the Yuan Dynasty. There are Bell Towers and Drum Towers on the northeast, and Arrow Towers of Desheng Gate on the northwest.
The Yuan Palace in Dadu is also known as Danei, built on the east side of the North Sea. The “Daming Hall” (equivalent to Fengtian Hall and Taihe Hall in the Ming and Qing Dynasties) in the Royal Palace is the tallest and grandest building in the Dadu city. The streets of Dadu are criss-crossed and arranged in a neat chequerboard layout. Both south and north Luogu Alleys and streets on both sides in Dongcheng are still in the pattern of the Yuan Dynasty, and the tradition of calling streets “Hutong” in Beijingalso began in the Yuan Dynasty. It was planned at that time to plant locust trees in the streets and Hutongs as sidewalk trees, so there were two locust trees in front of the gate of each courtyard. When Italian traveler Marco Polo came to Yuan Dadu, he said that it was the most beautiful city in the world. Now we can still find the ancient streets and Hutongs built during the Yuan Dynasty. The most common buildings in Hutongs around Shichahai are Siheyuan (courtyard surrounded by buildings on all four sides) and Sanheyuan (courtyard surrounded by buildings on three sides).
“Beijing Hutong Tour” is one of the feature tourism activities in Shichahai area. Here, Chinese and foreign tourists follow their guide on foot or take a special-designed tricycle, walking through the ancient hutongs on the shore of Shichahai, and perceiving the cosy courtyard house and luxurious royal palace.
Experience Hutong tour and recognize the logos
The tricycles that officially operate in the scenic area are all rickshaws, and maximum of passenger on the back seat is two; all staff are uniformly dressed in white Tang shirts and black Tang pants, as well as a badge with the company name, license plate number, their ID photo and a franchise stamp; they can provide passengers with invoices if they need.
Specific routes of Hutong tour:
Pick-up Point: East of the South Road of Guo Moruo’s Former Residence on Qianhai West Street, west of the North Road of Former Residence, south of Houhai North (the alley on the west side of the former Dahuawei Hotel), Daxiangfeng Hutong, south exit of Qianhai South and east exit of Dingfu Street North.
Main route: Qianhai West Street → Qianhai North Bank → Houhai South Bank → Xiaoxiangfeng North Exit to the south → Shichahai Fire Brigade Gate → turn right into Daxiangfeng Hutong to the west → Liuyin Street (passing through the branch route from the Beijing Thirteenth Middle School East Gate) → Qianhai West Street, forming the first circular route;
Qianhai West Street → Qianhai North Bank → Yinding Bridge ←→ Houhai North Bank ←→ Yeya Island, back to the first route via Yinding Bridge → Houhai South Bank → Xiaoxiangfeng North Exit to the south → Shichahai Fire Brigade Gate → turn right into the Daxiangfeng Hutong to the west → Liuyin Street (take the branch route from the Beijing Thirteenth Middle School East Gate) → Qianhai West Street, forming the second circular route.
Branch routes: (1) Qianhai West Street → south exit of Nanguanfang → (turn right into) Nanguanfang East Road → enter the main road of the first circular route; (2) Qianhai West Street → Nanguanfang south exit → (turn left into) Zhanzi Hutong → Daxiangfeng → enter Liuyin Street to the first circular route; (3) south exit of Qianhai south bank ←→ Jinding Bridge ←→ Qianhai east bank ←→Enter the first or second circular route via Yinding Bridge (two-way); (4) Houhai North Bank, south exit of Hutong on the west side of the former Dahuawei Hotel → Ya’er Hutong westward → enter the second circular route along Houhai North Bank.
Transport: Bus lines near Qianhai Lotus Market: Line 13/42/612/701/Sightseeing Line 3/111/107/118/3, get off at Beihai North Gate Station; bus lines near Yandaixie Street: Line 124/5/60/635/82/Sightseeing Line 3, get off at Gulou Station; Metro Line 8, Shichahai Station; Metro Line 6, Beihai North Station;
Self-driving parking location:
Address: No. 23, Yangfang Hutong, Xicheng District, Beijing