So, with the long weekend and all, a few of us went to the Yongding Tulou (earthen or round houses) in Fujian province, about three hours from Xiamen city. Fujian province is really green and mountainous, and a photographer’s paradise. The day trip cost 180RMB (NT$840), which included transport, lunch, drinks, entrance fee and tour guide (no flag though).
We dropped out of the group and did our own thing for a few hours. It was quite crowded, plenty of people back to Fujian for the Tomb Sweeping weekend (lots of HKers), but the crowds were on their best behaviour, and we had a good time.
The people living in and around the Tulou are a really pleasant bunch, but can be hard to understand as they speak heavily accented Putonghua, and some of them can only speak their village dialect.
So, I won’t go into the history of the Tulou too much - they’re old and interesting. Here’s a brief blurb on them, plenty more info on the net…
"Earthen houses represent a vernacular architecture specific to Jiangxi, Fujian and Guangdong provinces following the flow of the Hakka people from central China to the South. As most Hakka resided in mountains, communal houses made of compacted earth were built to provide protection against bandits and wild animals. The older examples of this style of construction consist of interior buildings enclosed by huge peripheral ones holding hundreds of rooms and dwellers. With all the halls, storehouses, wells and bedrooms inside, the huge towerlike building functions almost as a small fortified city. Earthen houses are made of earth, stone, bamboo and wood, all readily available materials. After constructing the walls with rammed earth, branches, strips of wood and bamboo chips were laid in the wall as “bones” to reinforce it. The end result is a well lit, well-ventilated, windproof, quakeproof building that is warm in winter and cool in summer.
Over twenty thousand of these houses still stand today, ten of which are over 600 years old. The oldest one, “Fu Xing Lou” in Hu Le town, was constructed over 1,200 years ago and is regarded as a “living fossil” of the construction style of central China. The tulou located at the border of Yongding County and Nanjing County is the perfect example of this style of construction and it is here that there are most earthen houses. Most of the nominated properties are located in this area."
Here’s the picture tour…
Leaving Xiamen by bus
Getting there - more scenic by the minute
Tea on the terraces
It never stops, 24-7-365
It was a wet day
But we had lunch first…
Some exterior pics…
Water wheels on the river - still in working order, bringing water to the people
A village alleyway
I love the angles
More of the village
Tulou seen from the outside
The village school
I wonder how old…?
I love the angles on those dovetailed eaves
The river and bridges
It’s a dog’s life!
Some interior shots…
The chicken has a pretty clear idea where it’s going to end up
No Chinese homestead, no matter how old, is complete without the telly
Some macro shots…
You might have to get out your magnifying glasses - the pics are quite small. Is that because I compressed them before uploading them to Flickr?
Anyways, hope you enjoyed the picture tour. Will do more as I travel…