UNESCO designated 46 tulou in Fujian province as a World Heritage site in 2008. Several stories high, the Hakka and Minnan people lived in these earthen residences / fortresses since the 12th century. Face inside in a circular or square fashion, entire family clans of several hundred people can live in a single tulou. Typically, the residents of one tulou would have one surname.
There are over 20,000 tulou in Fujian's Yongding county although there are more elsewhere in the province and in neighbouring Guangdong. Their unique shape caught the attention of American intelligence officers, who initially thought they were missile silos or part of a nuclear facility when reviewing satellite photos.
The Tianluokeng cluster has circular, square, and oval tulou. This part of Fujian is still quite rural and agricultural. The first stop to admire the structures is to view them from a distance.
Upon closer inspection, the tulou doesn't have many windows facing outside for defense purposes.
A large well outside serves as a place to wash dishes and hair.
Back to the Xiamen Gallery Main Page