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City Guides / Guides

The longest hutong in Beijing

By Jiang Yan

November 29

It is 1.6 km long and is the longest hutong in Beijing. Dongjiao Minxiang is a place where history quietly meets with modern metropolitan.

It is 1.6 km long and is the longest hutong in Beijing. Dongjiao Minxiang is a place where history quietly meets with modern metropolitan.

 

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Dongjiao Minxiang [Image Credit: Jiang Yan/China.org.cn]
There is a lot less hustle and bustle on the streets of Dongjiao Minxiang compared to some of the must-see attractions such as South Luogu Lane. Walking down the alley, you will rarely see a tourist group or hear the clicks from eager cameras. Aside from nearby schools being dismissed, the narrow street is a quiet area that is home to historic sites and former embassies. It has not served legation functions since 1959 when the embassies have been removed to other areas. It is now home to government offices such as the Supreme People’s Court and the Beijing Police Museum.

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A girl and her mother on their way home from school [Image Credit: Jiang Yan/China.org.cn]
The history of this area can be traced back to the 13th century when Marco Polo traveled to China. Back then, Dongjiao Minxiang served as a trade center in which grain transported from south China unloaded. Until 1900, Dongjiao Minxiang was renamed Legation Street, because it housed the embassies of France, Japan, Russia, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Holland and Austria. Under state protection, various Western-style structures are still well preserved, scattered on both sides of the alley.

St Michael’s Church

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St Michael’s Church [Image Credit: Jiang Yan/China.org.cn]
This Gothic-style church was built in 1901 as the French embassy church in the former legation quarter, and was the last church built by missionaries in China.

The former Yokohama Specie Bank branch in Beijing

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The former Yokohama Specie Bank branch in Beijing [Image Credit: Jiang Yan/China.org.cn]
Located in the junction of Zhengyi Road and Dongjiao Minxiang, the former China branch of Yokohama Specie Bank was built in 1910 and now it is listed as a national historical and cultural site.

The former French Embassy in China

The main entrance of the former French embassy in China [Image Credit: Jiang Yan/China.org.cn]
The main entrance of the former French embassy in China [Image Credit: Jiang Yan/China.org.cn]
The former French embassy in China is now a historic site under state protection. With two guardian lions standing in front of the gate, you may catch a glimpse of the past.

 

 

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