Plan your Beijing tour? If you like a walking tour, Dong Jiao Min Xiang is a historic site worth your short stroll and glimpse of the European-style buildings by the late 19th century and early 20th century foreign powers.
ABCs of Former Legation Quarter
Dong Jiao Min Xiang ( Former Legation Quarter ) literally means “East Foreign Residents Alley”, which is the longest alley ( hutong ) in Beijing with a total length of 1550 meters.
In the English travel guidebooks, Dong Jiao Min Xiang is popularly known as Former Legation Quarter (the former embassy sites ). It was once home to the former 11 foreign embassies including UK, France, Germany, Japan, the US, Russia, Italy, Spain, Austria, Belgium and Dutch between 1861 and 1959.
The trees-lined alley is surrounded by elegant historic buildings quite different from the rest of Beijing traditional buildings, an inseparable part of Beijing’s history.
How to Visit Dong Jiao Min Xiang
So how to visit How to visit Dongjiaominxiang (the Former Legation Quarter). The historic alley is open all year round without any entrance fee. Dong Jiao Min Xiang is an east-west hutong with its west end ( west entrance ) connected to Beijing Tiananmen Square and its east end ( east entrance ) close to the Exit A of the subway station of Chongwenmen ( subway line 2).
A walk along Dong Jiao Min Alley is often done either before or after your visit to Tiananmen Square. So if you prefer to visit Dong Jiao Min Xiang before your tour of Tiananmen Square, you may take subway line 2 and get off at the station of Chongwenmen and exit from Exit A.
The east entrance to Dong Jiao Min Xiang (东交民巷）is just next to the north of Exit A. If you’d like to visit Dong Jiao Min Xiang after Tiananmen Square, you walk to the east side of the square, try to find the way to the alley of Dong Jiao Min Xiang.
Virtual Tour of Dong Jiao Min Xiang
Well, follow me into the west entrance to Dong Jiao Min Xiang from Tiananmen Square.
The west entrance is on the east edge of the square across the road opposite to the east side of Memorial Hall of Chairman Mao (Mausoleum of Mao Zedong) in the south of Tiannamen Square.
Walking up the steps leading to the west entrance to Dong Jiao Min Xiang ( Former Legation Quarter ). As some of the former foreign legation buildings have been transferred into government offices, taking pictures is not allowed. Other buildings have been turned into restaurants and hotels.
Once entering the west entrance, on your right side is the part of the former the US embassy which is now used as the office building for Tiananmen Square Administration Committee.
On your left side across the former US embassy is the former Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China. Built in 1919, it is the British royal chartered bank in China during the Republican Period specializing in the oriental business.
Dongjiaominxiang is a quite and arched tree alley, a timeline bringing you back to the former legation quarter period.
East of the former US embassy compound is the former Dutch Embassy Compound. The picture below is the former entrance to the Dutch Barrack.
Move on to the east direction, you will see a grand building in the name of Beijing Police Museum at No.36. The Building is the former CITI Bank. Walk a while, you will come across the building no.34 for the former French bank – Banque de i’indo Chine.
The domed building at the corner of Dong Jiao Min Xiang and Zhengyi Road ( a north-south street ) is the former Japanese Yokahama Specie Bank.
This is the building for the former French Post Office (No.19-1). Now it has been turned into a Sichuan Restaurant.
Have a short stroll to the east of the former French Post Office, you will see the entrance to the former French Embassy.
The St. Michael’s Church is located at the northeast corner of the crossroad between Dong Jiao Min Xiang and Taijichang Road (north-south). In 1901, the church property belonged to the French embassy, and when it opened in 1904, St. Michael’s was managed by the French Church.
To the south of the St. Michael’s Church is the former Belgian legation with green roofs and red brick walls.
The main gate to the former Belgian embassy is on the East Qianmen Street, paralleling Dong Jiao Min Xiang.
Tip: Hassle-free Beijing Guided Tours
If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours, here are some options for Beijing guided tours:
Top 10 Attractions in Beijing
How to Visit Forbidden City
How to Visit Temple of Heaven
How to Visit Summer Palace
How to Visit Ming Tombs
How to Visit the Great Wall of China
How to Visit Tiananmen Square
How to Visit Hutongs
How to Visit Olympic Sites
Any questions, just drop a line.