What are the Hutongs and how can I visit one?

A Hutong is an ancient urban alley typical of Beijing. The ancient city has several thousand hutongs around the Forbidden city. Most of them were formed in the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties. There used to be many more hutongs in Beijing. Most that still exist today are located in the area near Shichahai. The best way to get around them is on foot, or by rickshaw / bicycle.