Tulou are communal houses built by the Hakka, particularly in Fujian Province. Today there are still some 46 earthen tulou in Fujian. They were built between the 15th to the 20th century. These Hakka earthern houses are characterized by their circular and some times square floor plan. They are several storeys tall, and face inward to a central courtyard or quadrangle. These earthen homes are called Tulou.
Zhenchenglou, a tulou in Yongding county, Fujian Province, China
The Fujian Tulou are set in the middle of rice, tea or tobacco fields. Their style of architecture reflect the need for community defence. The Tulou is often home to a single large, extended family, or clan, that may number as many as 800 people of the Hakka ethnic group. They are accessed through a single entrance. There are no windows facing the outside on the ground level, thus preventing intrusion by bandits.
The most elaborate Tulou were built in the 17th and 18th centuries. While the exterior appears plain, the interior of the Tulou are often elaborate, comfortable, and richly decorated.
Fujian Tulou, China
The Fujian Tulou were inscribed as World Heritage Sites during the 32nd session of the World Heritage Committee in Quebec City, Canada, on 2-10 July, 2008. They stand as exceptional examples of a building tradition that exemplify a particular type of communal living, as well as a type of structure built for communal defence. They are an outstanding example of human settlement that harmoniously blend with their environment.
Chuxi Tulou, China
Roud tulou, China
Tulou of Tian Luo Keng, Shuyang County, Fujian, China
Interior of the Tulou
Yuchanglou, a 700-year-old tulou in Yongding County, China
World Heritage Site Inscription Details
Location: N 25 1 23 E 117 41 9
Inscription Year: 2008
Type of Site: Cultural
Inscription Criteria: III, IV, V
View Fujian Tulou in a larger map
Visiting Fujian Tulou
Your best bet is to arrive in one of the two major Fujian cities such as Xiamen or Fuzhou, and make arrangement with the local tour operator for an excursion to visit the Tulou. The Tulou are found in the Yongding district of Fujian Province. Hukeng is one of its more accessible towns.