Where to see these buildings?
How to get there?
Please visite page 42-43 of
Dotted among the dark green mountains and blue waters in the south west
Province of Fujian in South China are densely concentrated blocks of oddly
shaped buildings. American researchers once described these building complexes
as like "like something from another planet", Japanese scholars called them
"black UFOs", while architectural experts praises them as "the Potala Palace in
Fujian". The CIA sent intelligence agents to spy on this "suspicious Chinese
nuclear base" in the 1960s but found out that this "nuclear base" was just
tulou, or literally earth buildings, where the Fujian Hakka people have lived
for over a thousand years!
At the Model Exhibition of World Ancient Architectural Elaborate Works in
April 1984, Zhencheng Building, an earth building in Yongding County in Fujian,
caused a stir and was called "a worldwide unparalleled legendary residential
building". In February 2004 UNESCO formally granted Fujian Hakka earth buildings
World Cultural Heritage status.
Hakka: the guest people
Spiritrace:I saw similar structures in Northern Ireland which
dated back to the 1st millennium BC.
Chiaike i like buidings like
this. so many people living in the same building, and the most important
thing is that you can actually know your neighbors!
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The Hakka people are not an ethnic minority. They settled in Fujian from the
Central Plains of China over a long period from the Qin (221-207 BC) to the Song
(960-1279) dynasties. Self-identified as Hakka, or guest people, these Han
immigrants have retained much of their ancestors' lifestyle and culture and have
absorbed the best parts of other ethnic groups' cultures. After more than 1,000
years of struggle they formed their own original folk customs including
festivals, food, drink, costume, education and religion, and most unique of all
- earth buildings.
Strange looking multi-function buildings
There are many different types of earth buildings in the Hakka area. While
the most common are round or square, others are rectangular, D-shaped,
semi-circular or in the shape of horseshoes, umbrellas, windmills, or Ba Gua (an
eight-sided diagram derived from the I-Ching - the Chinese book of divination.
Each side represents a different aspect of life such as wealth, career, and
The earth buildings are usually three to five stories high. Inside the
entrance is a huge central courtyard onto which all the doors of the rooms and
inner windows open.
The buildings are used for a variety of purposes - for public activities, as
ancestral temples and for residential dwelling. The rooms on the ground floor
are used as kitchens and dining rooms, those on the second floor are for
storage, and third floor rooms are used as bedrooms. The rooms on each floor are
identical with an open round hallway in front of the rooms. Each floor usually
has four staircases and a typical room is about 10 - 13 sq m, with larger rooms
around 15 sq m.