Beijing Legation Quarter
Beijing's Legation Quarter was where a number of foreign legations were located between 1861 and 1959. In Chinese, the area is known as Dong Jiao Min Xiang, which is the name of the hutong that passes through the area. It is located in Dongcheng, immediately east of Tiananmen Square.
During the Yuan Dynasty, Dong Jiang Min Xiang (literally East River Rice Lane) was the location of the tax office and the customs authorities. Because of its proximity to the river port by which rice and grains arrived in Beijing from the south, it was convenient for administration to be based nearby. During the Ming Dynasty, a number of ministries relocated into the area, including the Ministry of Rites, which was kept in charge of diplomatic matters. Hostels were also built for tribute missions and other diplomatic envoys passing through the area.
It was also a term of the Boxer Protocol that the street's name should be changed to "Legation Street," with the Chinese name changed to Dong Jiaomin Xiang, a name which sounds similar to the original- but can be interpreted as "Diplomatic Personnel Lane." Most of the Chinese ministries, at this point, relocated their offices to the street.