All you wanted to know about hutong

Hutong (alleys) and siheyuan (courtyard houses) are considered representative of Beijing's urban cultural traditions.

A large-scale exhibition running until Oct 21 at the Capital Museum offers viewers insight into some of the capital's century-old lanes and compounds and their residents.

Co-organized by Beijing Municipal Archive and the museum, the show comprises three parts, detailing the hutong and siheyuan at the core of the city; those along the city's axis, which runs from the southern Yongding Gate to the Bell and Drum towers in the north; and life in the hutong and courtyards over the past century.

Photos and documents from the early 20th century reveal how Beijingers used to live, the hustle and bustle of the business areas in the 1930s and untold stories about modern Chinese artists, writers and intellectuals.