Beijing's most famous Hutong gets restoration

After a three-month restoration, Beijing's Nanluoguxiang, an 800-meter-long hutong and tourist attraction known for its food and souvenir shops, opened to the public during the Spring Festival. So, what does it look like now?

Nanluoguxiang is Beijing's most famous ancient Hutong. Its authentic old Beijing atmosphere attracts people from around the world.

But as more and more people flooded there over the years, it became very crowded and highly commercialized. This 800-meter-long hutong was lined with more than 200 shops, restaurants and bars.

So to protect the ancient culture in the 740-year-old alley and reduce the impact on local residents, Nanluoguxiang went through a closed restoration from October 28 to December 12, last year.

The street was resurfaced, and the buildings along the hutong were redecorated according to detailed guidelines, which covered layout, height, look and material.

The number of shops has also been cut by one-third to 154.

When it reopened to the public during the Spring Festival, people living in the hutong said it regained its traditional hutong style.

"There are not as many shops as before. And you can feel the old Beijing atmosphere."

"Nanluoguxiang used to be very crowded and noisy, but now it's more quiet and you can better appreciate its beauty."

More cultural spaces are being encouraged in this highly commercialized hutong.

"This shop used to sell snacks. But now I've turned it into a place selling traditional Chinese goods and handmade crafts."

Under a three-year plan by the Dongcheng district government, more than 60 percent of the establishments should be culturally-themed by the end of 2018.

And energy-saving and sanitation equipment and other facilities will also be added.

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