China – Fujian – Yongding – Tulou

This is a short photographic presentation of the tulou’s from the Fujian province, Yongding district, China.


The Fujian tulou are Chinese rural dwellings unique to 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 800 people. 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.

Most of the tulou (with the exception of the Dadi tulou cluster in Hua’an county) are found in a relatively small geographical area, straddling the boundary between the Yongding and Nanjing counties, Fujian province. These are administered as a single tourist site (known as the Nanjing Tulou Scenic Area) with its entrance in Shuyang township (Nanjing County, Zhangzhou). Visits to this area therefore usually comprise a tour of the most distinctive and famous across both the “Yongding” (Gaobei Tulou Cluster, Hongkeng Tulou Cluster, Chuxi Tulou Cluster, Zhenfulou Earthen House and Yanxianglou Earthen House) and “Nanjing” (Tianluokeng tulou cluster, Hekeng Tulou Cluster, Heguilou Earthen House and Huaiyuanlou Earthen House) tulou groups.


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Yongding is a district under the jurisdiction of Longyan prefecture-level city in the southwest of Fujian Province, People’s Republic of China. Yongding county is situated on the Fujian-Guangdong border. Shanghang County to the northwest and Longyan centre to the northeast are in Longyan; Nanjing County to the east and Pinghe County to the southeast are in Zhangzhou. To the southwest lies Dabu County of Meizhou, GD. Both Dabu and Shanghang are Hakka-speaking counties; Longyan Centre, Nanjing and Pinghe are predominantly Minnan-speaking.

Yongding is about 2,500 km2 (970 sq mi) in area. Like other counties of Fujian province, Yongding is 80% hills and mountains, 10% water or rivers, and 10% fields.



(Important Note: ALL photographs of this article added to the sourced texts by NovoScriptorium after kind courtesy of our friend Ben Lee – ALL photographs originally taken by Ben Lee)


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