The history of Hutong Beijing dates all the way back to 12th century.
Hutong means water well. The concept of Hutong originated in Yuan Dynasty. Each community compound in ancient time would be in the form of a courtyard with a well in the middle of the compound. The main entrance is usually donned with lions, symbolic of the wealth and also used for mounting the horse.
Hutongs are designed with Feng Shui principles, so not to disturb the spiritual attributes of the surrounding landscape. The main Entrance is usually in the south with a free standing wall to keep the evil spirits out. Whereas the entrance to the head of the family quarters is in the North wall.
Most of the building structures are placed in straight lines, like the Forbidden City.
Travel tip shared by I Love Tripping