For those oversea travelers who are going to visit Beijing, what they are expecting on their trip to Beijing, I think, is not mainly to see the skyscrapers, and fancy buildings here in Beijing. What intrigues them is to touch a cultural and traditional Beijing.
Old Courtyards (siheyuan) and Beijing Hutong are the living history and folklore of traditional Beijing. From these courtyards and Beijing Hutong, visitors can see the houses and lifestyle of old Beijing.
More and more courtyards and hutongs are being demolished to give away to new highrises. In 1950s, there are more than 17million square meters of courtyards in Beijing. But by the early 90s, Beijing total courtyard area was only 4million square meters; to 2000, according to the cultural relics department to rough statistics, Beijing’s courtyard and Reduction of nearly 100 million square meters.
Today, most of the courtyards have become crowded courtyards, and are severely damaged due tothe state of disrepair. The courtyards that reflects the philosophy of living space and nature and construction has left us farther and farther. How to protect Beijing’s courtyards and Beijing Hutong, it has becomed a issue of common concern and need a responsible government to have a deep insight for the protection of the old courtyards and hutongds.
Today I read the exciting story from the local newspaper that Dongcheng district plans to build a courtyard museum in the Qianmen area to preserve Beijing courtyard culture. It is a living museum, a cluster of courtyards and at the same time keep residents living there, not just a courtyard with some picturs and objects on display.
I sincerely hope the living courtyard musuem will be built in near future. It will serve as a must see place for international travelers and make up for a place to represent the real and traditional Beijing.
Beijing Courtyard and Hutong Travel