Here now and now here or nowhere

The title of this blog comes from a play on words that "now here" is also the same letters as "nowhere" just with a space added in the middle. I am always trying to get better at being in the here and now, and I've always been a bit of a joker so that is why I chose this name.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Hakka Tulou, Fujian Earth Buildings

So my main reason of going to Xiamen was to see the Hakka Tulou buildings, the Kinmen visa run was a side benefit of being down there. So, what are the Hakka Tulou? Well, wikipedia describes it best.

"A tulou is usually a large, enclosed and fortified earth building, 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 end 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." (

So, that's the technical description, lets see some pics, shall we?

On the way to the Tulou we passed many many fields of bananas growing. Freaking awesome! We even stopped and bought some fresh tropical bananas, nothing like a fresh picked ripe banana.

mountains, trees, rivers. so much natural beauty.

The first sign of earth buildings. though not as spectacular as the main tulou, these buildings still are quite a marvel when you think of how they are built and how old they are.

A circular Tulou

drive by bus window shot

The famous Tianluokeng tulou cluster ( shot from above.

me in front of the Tianluokeng tulou cluster

Tianluokeng Tulou cluster from below.

Old Tulou building.

The chinese seemed to really like this building. I have no idea what it was but why not grab a photo.

Tulou, and a pretty stream running by it.

Ducks!. look at this racial harmony, black and white happy together. if only humans could take lesson from this.

Entering Yuchanglou, prepare yourself for what you're about to see.

Yuchanglou! It is one of the oldest and tallest tulou in China. Yuchanglou has been nicknamed the "zigzag building", because the vertical wooden post structure is not straight and perpendicular, but zigzags left and right. It was built that way due to an error measuring the building materials. But in spite of this apparent infirmity, this tall tulou withstood 700 hundred years of natural elements and social turmoil. Yuchanglou's outer ring is 36 m in diameter and boasts five stories, with 50 rooms on each floor.Each of the 25 kitchens on the ground floor at the back half of the circle has a private water well beside its stove. This is the only tulou in all Fujian with such convenient water supply

looking up from fresh inside the door.

from the bottom, up.

A stairway up. there were various stairs leading to different sections of the Tulou. Not meant for tourists to climb, I played "ignorant American" and climbed the whole way up. "whoops, I didn't know we weren't supposed to :P"

From the third floor

a view of the stairs going up.

looking out a window, also meant for a gunnery hole.

view from the top.

view from the top looking into the center building structure. Believe this was also used for a temple.

me and one of the residents, posing for pictures.

Yuchanglou from outside.

lady doing laundry in the river.

inside a smaller tulou.

wouldn't you love living here. how peaceful and serene, minus all the tourists walking around your neighborhood.

rectangular tulou.

bananas ripening.

A few feet away from the bus stop was this lush wildlife. I wanted to just follow the trail forever. Living off bananas and insects.

Outside Chengqilou. Nicknamed "the king of tulou", of Gaobei Tulou cluster at Gaotou village of Yongding County was built in 1709. Inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage Site 1113-003 in 2008. It is massive rotunda tulou with four concentric rings surrounding an ancestral hall at the center, the outer ring is 62.6 meters in diameter and four storeys tall, 288 rooms, with 72 rooms on each level, circular corridor on 2nd to 4th floor, with four sets of staircases at cardinal points connecting ground to top floors. A big roof extending out ward covers the main ring. The ground floor rooms are kitchens for family branches, the second level rooms are grain storage rooms, and the 3rd and 4th floor rooms are living quarters and bedrooms. The second ring of 80 rooms is two storeys high, with 40 rooms on each level, the third ring served as community library, one storey with 32 rooms; there are 370 rooms in all. The 4th ring is a circular covered corridor surrounding the ancestral hall. If a person stayed for one night in each room, it would take him more than a year to go through all the rooms. The ancestral hall is at the center. Chengqilou has two main gates and two side gates. 15th generation Jiang clan with 57 families and 300 people live here. At its heyday, there were more than 80 family branches lived in Chengqilou.

Chengqilou from a different angle. I didn't know how famous it was, otherwise I would have totally gone in and peeked around. I was on a tour bus where no one spoke english AT ALL! so when we got here I didn't know what they were saying and it cost to go in so I figured, fuck it. Wish I had gone in now after doing some research. Oh well.

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