These are troubled times for Beijing’s ancient hutong laneways, which once fanned out around the city to form a graceful network of passageways lined with traditional courtyard houses – grey, Ming-dynasty environs filled with atmosphere.
Only a third of the hutongs still exist; the rest have been demolished or partially destroyed, a survey shows. The devastation of ancient areas such as Qianmen, which used to house some of Beijing’s oldest traditional courtyards and alleys, bears out the report’s findings. The city has lost many lanes, some of them dating back to the 13th century, to make way for new developments. [Full text]
See a photo essay of the destruction of old Beijing by photographer Sean Gallagher.