Fujian Tulou (simplified Chinese: 福建土楼; traditional Chinese: 福建土樓; pinyin: Fújiàn Tǔlóu; literally: "Fujian earthen structures") is a type of Chinese rural dwelling of the Hakka in the mountainous areas in southeastern Fujian, China. They were mostly built between the 12th and the 20th centuries.
A tulou is usually a large, enclosed and fortified earth building, most commonly rectangular or circular in configuration, with very thick load-bearing rammed earth walls between three and five stories high and housing up to 80 families. Smaller interior buildings are often enclosed by these huge peripheral walls which can contain halls, storehouses, wells and living areas, the whole structure resembling a small fortified city.
The fortified outer structures are formed by compacting earth, mixed with stone, bamboo, wood and other readily available materials, to form walls up to 6 feet (1.8 m) thick. Branches, strips of wood and bamboo chips are often laid in the wall as additional reinforcement. The result is a well-lit, well-ventilated, windproof and earthquake-proof building that is warm in winter and cool in summer. Tulous usually have only one main gate, guarded by 4–5-inch-thick (100–130 mm) wooden doors reinforced with an outer shell of iron plate. The top level of these earth buildings has gun holes for defensive purposes.
A total of 46 Fujian Tulou sites, including Chuxi tulou group, Tianluokeng tulou cluster, Hekeng tulou cluster, Gaobei tulou cluster, Dadi tulou cluster, Hongkeng tulou cluster, Yangxian lou, Huiyuan lou, Zhengfu lou and Hegui lou, have been inscribed in 2008 by UNESCO as World Heritage Site, as "exceptional examples of a building tradition and function exemplifying a particular type of communal living and defensive organization [in a] harmonious relationship with their environment".
Tianluokeng tulou cluster (田螺坑土楼群) is one of the better known groups of Fujian Tulou. It is located in Fujian province, Zhangzhou City, Nanjing County, Shuyang Township, Tian Luo Keng Village (literally "Snail Pit" Village) in southern China.
The cluster consists of a square earth building at the center of a quincunx, surrounded by four round earth buildings (or more exactly, 3 round earth buildings and one oval shape earth building), figuratively nicknamed "四菜一汤, Si cai yi tang" (four dishes with a soup).
Date of Inscription on the List of UNESCO WHS: 2008
Thank you, J.C. !
Sent on: August 20, 2015
Received on: September 22, 2015