Have spent a fascinating afternoon visiting first the Beijing Bell and Drum towers, then the hutongs of the area.
The Bell and Drum towers were ancient time keeping devices, so that workers could keep time before watches/timepieces were common. More information here
The hutongs are narrow alleyways between lines of traditional courtyard residences. We toured the streets of these hutongs by pedal rickshaw (pedicab) – and stopped several times to visit the homes of Beijing residents who lived in some of these hutongs. As a preserved area, homes in the hutongs are highly sought after, especially with their historical connection to the Feng-Shui of the Ming dynasty. We saw several occupied hutongs, and were grateful to the Beijing citizens who allowed us into their homes.