Siheyuan (Beijing Courtyard)

A visit to courtyard
Within a Local Courtyard Residence
Being a traditional unique folk house in the hutongs, Beijing courtyard has a long history in Chinese architecture. It is called 'Siheyuan' in Chinese, 'Si' means 'Four', which here refers to the four sides: east, west, north and south. 'He' refers to the surrounding, meaning the four sides circle into a square. Due to its special layout, Siheyuan is compared to a box with a garden in the center. There is only one gate leading to a hutong, so when the gate is closed, the courtyard loses touch with the outside world. The purpose of Siheyuan's desigh is to make family members fully enjoy tranquility and share the happiness of a peaceful family union.

Most of the existing ones are relics of the Ming (1368 - 1644) and Qing (1644 - 1911) Dynasties. They are the shadow of old China. Siheyuan features the ancient furniture, fish pond, wooden doors and windows, and cane chairs, which can remind you of their flourishing past. Those flashed bricks, Chinese eaves and cornices, fine brick designs, and wood carvings, reveal a strong classical tone of the old city.

Hidden in the forest of armored concrete, it presents an aching beauty of decadence, waiting eagerly for you to explore its past. You cannot fully understand Beijing until you live in them.
Gate of Chinese Courtyard
Gate of Chinese Courtyard

Owners often grow flowers and trees in the garden to decorate their happy life. Generally speaking, they love planting date trees, locust trees and cloves. The pomegranate tree is also their favorite because it has many seeds. In Chinese, the pronunciations of 'seed' and 'son' are the same, and old people believe that the more sons, the more blessings. This is the reason why we can see many pomegranate trees growing in them. Living in this elegant and harmonious environment, they must enjoy a peaceful and blissful life!

The Hutongs and the Courtyards reflect the ritualistic and traditional ideas of China, and contain rich cultural connotations. They are the archetypes of the royal architecture.

It's a great pity that these traditional heritage sites are being replaced by high-rise buildings during the remodeling and new construction of the city. People from home and abroad are concerned that the historic and cultural value of the capital city will certainly be reduced if they are destroyed and lost forever.


- Last modified on Aug. 23, 2018 -
Questions & Answers on Siheyuan (Beijing Courtyard)
Asked by Mrs.mona from EGYPT | Feb. 05, 2009 00:47Reply
as my husband is viviting beijing for some buisness he has ONLY 2 days sightseeing !! can you give me some tips to help him visit the best in this very short period as we have no idea where to start with !! thanks from Cairo .
Answers (2)
Answered by Ms.Zhao from CHINA | Feb. 05, 2009 18:58

Mrs.mona, you can chat with the tour operators of this site to ask them arrange a tour for you.
Answered by Mr.David Risley from ENGLAND | Feb. 20, 2009 08:36

I would highly reccommend Yong he Lamasary, my experience of China is that the main attractions are so big that they are quite exhausting to try to see in such a short time. Contain your time and enjoy this spectacle.
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