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Visit eight attractions in the northeast of Beijing's old city center (Dongcheng District) to discover ancient architecture, the original Beijing atmosphere, and Chinese culture. Walking will let you experience the hutong atmosphere like no other form of transport!
Route: Yonghe Temple – Guozijian (the Imperial Academy) and the Temple of Confucius – Nanluoguxiang Hutong – Yandaixiejie Hutong – Silver Ingot Bridge – Prince Gong's Mansion
Address: 12 Yonghegong Street (雍和宫大街12号)
Yonghe Temple is the largest monastery of the Geluk School of Tibetan Buddhism in Beijing. Construction work on Yonghe Temple started in 1694 during the Qing Dynasty. It originally served as an official residence for court eunuchs, and was later converted into a monastery for monks of Tibetan Buddhism, under the reign of Emperor Yongzheng of the Qing Dynasty.
Yonghe Temple is a 5-minute walk from the Temple of Confucius and the Imperial Academy. Walk along Yonghegong Street for about 200 meters. Turn right to enter Guanshuyuan Hutong, and the Temple of Confucius and Guozijian are about 250 meters into the Hutong.
Address: 15 Guozijian Street (国子监街15号)
Guozijian was the Imperial Academy during the Yuan, Ming, and Qing Dynasties (1271–1911), and it was the highest institute of learning in China's traditional education system. Emperors in imperial China would frequently visit to read Confucian classics to thousands of students.
The Temple of Confucius is right next to Guozijian. It is the second largest Confucian Temple in China, after the one in Confucius' hometown Qufu. There are many carvings inside the temple, and there is a large collection of ancient Chinese musical instruments in the Hall of Great Perfection. Nowadays the temple houses part of the art collection of Beijing Capital Museum.
Have lunch nearby before moving on to the next stop.
Prince Xun's Residence is a 5-minute walk from the Temple of Confucius and the Imperial Academy.
Head east on the Guozijian Street towards Guanshuyuan Hutong for about 180 meters. Turn right onto Yonghegong Street and walk straight for 160 meters. Then turn right onto Fangjia Hutong, where Prince Xun's Residence is located 180 meters in.
Address: 13–15 Fangjia Hutong, near Andingmennei Street (安定门内大街方家胡同13-15号)
Prince Xun was Emperor Qianlong's third son, and a well-preserved residence of its kind is rarely seen in Beijing these days. Notably, the east part of Prince Xun's Residence has the complete arrangement of a typical siheyuan, invaluable as a cultural and historical remnant.
Head west on Fangjia Hutong for 500 meters. Turn left onto Andingmennei Street, and head straight for about 350 meters. Turn right onto Gulou East Street, and walk straight for about 450 meters. Then Nanluoguxiang Hutong is just a right-turn away.
Nanluoguxiang Hutong is known for its authentic Beijing atmosphere. The age-old siheyuans, archways, wall carvings, and former residences of socialites can be found there. Today there has been an unprecedented fusion of East and West in Nanluoguxiang Hutong, where new pubs and restaurants have given it an urban appearance.
Yandaixiejie Hutong is a 10-minute walk from Naluoguxiang Hutong.
Head north on Nanluoguxiang Hutong for 50 meters. Turn left onto Shajing Hutong and head straight for 300 meters. Turn right onto Nanxiawazi Hutong and after 20 meters turn left onto Fangzhuanchang Hutong. After 350 meters turn right onto Di'anmenwai Street. Yandaixiejie Hutong is 100 meters into the Street on the left.
Since the olden days, Yandaixiejie Street has been one of the most flourishing commercial areas in Beijing. The stores are closely packed along the street, and a wide variety of souvenirs with Beijing characteristics can be found there.
Address: 37 Yandaixiejie Hutong (烟袋斜街37号)
Guangfuguan Taoist Temple is worth visiting for its ancient architecture. There are characters carved on the lintel above the arched doorways. The temple's roof guardians were preserved intact, and religious statues have remained, even after the temple was transformed into bars and restaurants several times. Renovation works on Guangfuguan Taoist Temple were completed in 2012, and it is open to visitors once again.
After about 200 meters on Yandaixiejie turn left, and Silver Ingot Bridge is 50 meters ahead.
Silver Ingot Bridge lies on a narrow channel joining Qianhai Lake and Houhai Lake. The bridge is 200 meters from Yandaixiejie Hutong and it is at the center of the Shichahai area, surrounded by hundreds of Hutongs.
Prince Gong's Mansion is a 10-minute walk from Silver Ingot Bridge.
Head south on Yindingqiao Hutong for 50 meters toward Beiguanfang Hutong and turn left to stay on Yindingqiao Hutong. Immediately take the right fork and stay on Dongmeichang (?) Hutong for the next 400 meters. Turn left onto Qianjing Hutong, then right onto Nanguanfang Hutong after 50 meters.
Optional siheyuan tour: There is a siheyuan along Nanguanfang Hutong open for touring. The tour takes about 30 minutes. With the help of an English-speaking tour guide, the siheyuan's history, its layout and the cultural factors involved in the buildings will be explained in detail.
After 200 meters on Nanguanfang Hutong turn left onto Zhanzi Hutong, and after 20 meters turn right onto Qianhai West Street for Prince Gong's Mansion.
Address: 17 Qianhai West Street (西城区前海西街17号)
Prince Gong's Mansion is the best preserved mansion in China, and the only mansion built in the Qing Dynasty open to public.