Earth Towers of Hakka

The Hakkas who settled in mountainous south western Fujian province in China developed unique architectural buildings called Tulou, literally meaning earthen structures. Because of the undesirable mountainous regions, the Hakkas set up these unique homes to prevent attack from bandits and marauders.

A Tulou, or "earth tower", is a traditional communal residence in the Fujian province of Southern China, usually of a circular configuration surrounding a central shrine. These vernacular structures were occupied by Hakka groups. Fujian Tulou is known for their unique shape, large scale, and ingenious structure. They were designed as a large fortress and apartment building in one. Structures typically had only one entranceway and no windows at ground level. Each floor served a different function - the first hosts a well and livestock, the second is for food storage and the third and higher floors contain living spaces. Tulou can be found mostly in south western Fujian and southern Jiangxi provinces.

Although most Tulous were of earthen construction, the definition "tulou", is a broadly descriptive label for a building type and does not indicate construction type. Some were constructed of cut granite or had substantial walls of fired brick. Most large-scale Tulous seen today were built of a composite material known as sanhetu rather than just earth.

Among all the Earth Towers, Tianluokeng Tulou Cluster, Yuchang Earth Tower, Zhencheng Tower, Chuxi Tulou and other sites are the best-known for visitors.

inside view of earth towerred laterns and alleyoverlooking the earthern towers

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