Fujian Photo Gallery - Tianluokeng Tulou

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.

Zhenchang Lou was built by the Huang family in 1930. With 1232 sq m of floor space, the 3-storey building stands over 11m tall.

A large well outside serves as a place to wash dishes and hair.

Wenchang Lou

Ruiyun Lou

I observed the cooking areas are located in the courtyard, rather than inside the tulou's rooms. Some were covered to safeguard residents from the elements. Their sense of security is lax despite the flood of tourists as their wares are scattered around for all to see and photograph.

Buyun Lou

The last tulou in this set is actually squarish, although there are also few windows on the exterior. However, it has turned into a tourist trap with plenty of shops on the ground floor facing the courtyard.

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