A mini hutong marathon was held at the hutongs in Dongsi Subdistrict of Dongcheng District of Beijing on August 29, 2017 as the hutongs’ traditional style is being recovered there with 150 gatehouses and a dozen of screen walls restored.
The contest was attended by 35 families. Contestants ran along the hutongs of Dongsijiutiao, Dongsibatiao and Dongsiliutiao to the destination at the sports and cultural center of Olympic Community in Dongsi Subdistrict, and supply stations of monuments and courtyards were prepared for contestants all the way.
“One year ago, it was difficult to stroll in hutongs, let alone to run in hutongs,” a resident said. “Now after the renovation project of refilling wall breaches, hutongs have recovered their old Beijing style.” A contestant surnamed Chen who lives in Dongsiertiao Hutong said today he finds many gatehouses have been renovated with exquisite carvings in hutongs.
Data from the Dongsi Subdistrict office show that in 2017, 13,000 square meters of illegal buildings have been demolished and 220 wall breaches have been refilled. An official from the office introduced that all renovation work in hutongs adopts traditional techniques and they try to use old materials in an effort to revive historical stories in hutongs.
“People usually tour hutongs for feeling culture, not for finding restaurants”, said Zhang Zhiyong, director of the Dongsi Subdistrict office. “So we renovated 700-year-old hutongs to be clear and residents can even run in hutongs. We welcome more tourists to come to hutongs to feel Beijing culture.”
According to the schedule, six screen walls at Dongsisitiao Hutong will be restored before September 15, all gatehouses and screen walls at Dongsisantiao, Dongsisitiao, Dongsiwutiao and Dongsiliutiao hutongs will be restored by the end of this year, and the ones at Dongsiqitiao, Dongsibatiao and Dongsijiutiao hutongs will be restored within the next three years.