A siheyuan experience

A siheyuan experience
Our room. Reminds me of films I watched about the Cultural revolution.

Our room. Reminds me of films I watched about the Cultural revolution.

Siheyuans are old courtyard houses in China. I’ve seen such in old Chinese films, so I was delighted to stay in one, Courtyard 7 in Beijing.

Courtyard 7 is an authentic 300-year old siheyuan. Empress Dowager Cixi – whose life fascinates me – gave this to one of her senior ministers.

Courtyard 7 has a small reception area. It has a courtyard with four surrounding buildings. The southern building is the dining area. The other buildings are the hotel rooms. Every building is connected by roofed passages to protect the people from rain and heat.

On Mid-autumn festival on September 8, we were out in the big yard to listen to a guzheng concert. It was a lovely evening.

Our own little yard.

Our own little yard.

We had a small room (we wanted a bigger one, but there was no available large room). But the advantage with the room we got is that it has its own little yard, with a big wooden gate that we could close for privacy.

Courtyard 7 became a hotel in 2008. The German Prime Minister Angela was once here on a visit.

Some things bothered me though. My sensitive nose itched. Could it be dust? The smell of an old house? The (friendly) huskies roaming around the yard and visiting the rooms? Or simply air pollution?

Further, I refrained from going to the toilet in the middle of the night because the room felt spooky. God knows the history of the people who lived there… 🙂

The Empress Dowager Cixi lived in a siheyuan. She was once a concubine and all concubines came from the upper class. She lived in such a home wih gray roof tiles.

1 Comment

  1. Can’t quite work out a critical reosnpse to this, except that I know I don’t like it! A cross between a kids shelves with toy buildings on and the materials section of a builders merchant/diy store. This is a truly awful design. Others have attempted attempted to get plants into buildings more successfully in their Expo Pavilion in 2000 and Richard Rogers building on Leadenhall Street in London (currently under construction). If it is to be so literal, why has a 3D image of buildings been made, why not just photograph a shelf with models of buildings on?????? Slightly more poetic?

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