A Day at the Hakka Tulou Buildings of Fujian Province China

The south east region of Fujian Province in China is a quite picturesque green mountainous landscape that has long been a home to many of one of Chinas minority groups the Hakkas.  The Hakkas are probably most well known for cuisine, culture but mostly for their very unique homes of which many still standing today date back over 700 years old.

As rumor has it, in the early days of satellite spying, the US suspected these may have been missile silos and reportedly sent spies to investigate. Lucky spies, as they would have stopped in and got to enjoy the delicious local Hakka cuisine!

Tianluokeng Tulou cluster at Nanjing

Their homes are referred to as ‘tu lou’  literally meaning ‘earth building’ due to being built with wood and rammed earth.  Some are square or rectangular, but many were built in a round or oval shape to create a defensive structure that would keep the community within safe from attacking bandits. Some of the tulous are quite large, featuring over 200 rooms across multiple stories. One of these tulous would be a home to many families, and a cluster of tulous would make a community.  It’s somewhat fascinating that these buildings, built many hundreds years ago, are still providing a home to many people today, and that many of those people are descendants of the original inhabitants, continuing the Hakka lifestyle and culture. There are many clusters of these tulou buildings throughout the Yongding, Hukeng and Nanjing, so lucky for me, I got to jump on board a day tour of these ancient cultural wonders. Hats off to the friendly French couple, Phillipe and Fon Fon, who were kind enough to let me share the day with them on the tour they’d organised with the Fuyulou Changdi Inn. My French is as good as my Mandarin, but fortunately Fon Fon spoke great Mandarin, so, when intuition and hand gestures failed, she could speak Mandarin to an English speaking local who could translate for me. There’s an interesting circle of linguistics but the day worked out terrific regardless of any language barriers. The first stop on this tour was Chengqi lou, heres a couple of panorama shots:

Chengqi lou – Click on image for larger version…
Inside Chengqi lou – click image for larger version…

More Tulou photos:

The hallways inside Chengqi lou
Gaobei Tulou cluster
Local craft and souveniers
Tianluokeng tulou cluster
At Tianluokeng

See the previous posts on how to get there: Yongding Station, Train to Yongding, Yongding Xiamen Bus

More Yongding travel tips here or visit the local tourism site here