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                      Home History and Culture Hutong and Siheyuan
                      Hutong and Siheyuan
                      Learn Chinese - History and Culture

                              Siheyuan
                      The word "hutong" (hú tóng 胡同) means "water well"(shuǐ jǐng 水井) in Mongolian. The Mongolians keep the nomadic tradition of settling down around springs or wells. A hutong is the passage formed by lines of siheyuan (sì hé yuàn 四合院, four-side enclosed courtyards). Strictly, hutong alleys are less than nine meters wide. Most hutongs in Beijing run in an east-west or north-south direction, with most houses facing south to take in as much sunshine as possible.
                      Hutong
                      A standard siheyuan  usually consists of houses on its four sides with a yard in the center. The gates are usually painted red and have large copper door rings. Usually, a whole family lives in compound. The elder generation lives in the main house standing at the north end, the younger generations live in the side houses, and the south house is usually the family sitting room or study.

                      Hutong joins hutong, and siheyuan meets siheyuan to form a block. Blocks join with blocks to form the whole residential constructions. 

                      胡同和四合院
                            過去,北京是由千百萬大大小小的四合院背靠背、面對面、平排并列有序地組成的。為出入方便,每排院落間必要留出通道,這就是胡同。

                      Hutong      胡同,是北京特有的一種古老的城市小巷。在北京,胡同浩繁有幾千條,它們圍繞在紫禁城周圍,大部分形成于中國歷史上的元、明、清三個朝代。在這些朝代的鼎盛時期,帝王為了“建皇極而隆上儀”,“襲周官之制度地居民”。北京城以皇宮為中心,街道全部按經緯排列。正規的胡同,集中在皇宮附近的東西兩側,沿街道由南向北整齊的排列,其中民居多為皇親貴族。簡陋的胡同,大多在離皇宮較遠的南北兩個方向,其中民居多為商賈平民。

                      Siheyuan      胡同中主要建筑,幾乎全部是四合院。這是一種由東西南北四座房屋,以四四方方對稱形式圍在一起構成的封閉式建筑。根據其中居民社會地位的高低貴賤,它有繁簡大小之分。高官富賈的大四合院,建筑考究,庭院廊柱、雕廊畫棟,附帶前后跨院。平民百姓的小四合院,構筑簡單,門面狹窄,房墻低矮。胡同,實質上是許許多多、大大小小、一個緊挨一個地排列起來的四合院之間的通道。

                            為便于采光,講究的四合院都坐北朝南,其排列結果,胡同多數成為東西走向。為了便于溝通,在較大胡同之間又有許多南北走向的小胡同。整座北京城,如同放大的四合院,東西南北基本對稱,布局嚴謹,氣勢壯觀,周圍加高墻以矩形圈圍,整齊劃一。

                       

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