Houses (Tulou), Fujian Province
World Heritage Classification: Cultural Site
Location: West Fujian Province
Earthen houses represent a vernacular architecture
specific to Jiangxi, Fujian and Guangdong provinces
following the flow of the Hakka people from central China
to the South. As most Hakka resided in mountains,
communal houses made of compacted earth were built to
provide protection against bandits and wild animals. The
older examples of this style of construction consist of
interior buildings enclosed by huge peripheral ones holding
hundreds of rooms and dwellers. With all the halls,
storehouses, wells and bedrooms inside, the huge towerlike
building functions almost as a small fortified city.
Earthen houses are made of earth, stone, bamboo and
wood, all readily available materials. After constructing
the walls with rammed earth, branches, strips of wood
and bamboo chips were laid in the wall as "bones" to
reinforce it. The end result is a well lit, well-ventilated,
windproof, quakeproof building that is warm in winter
and cool in summer.
Over twenty thousand of these houses still stand
today, ten of which are over 600 years old. The oldest one, “Fu Xing Lou” in Hu
Le town, was constructed
over 1,200 years ago and is regarded as a “living fossil”
of the construction style of central China. The tulou
located at the border of Yongding County and Nanjing
County is the perfect example of this style of construction
and it is here that there are most earthen houses. Most of
the nominated properties are located in this area.
Representative of a unique style
of Chinese communal architecture
The Main Scenic Spots:
Yongding County, Long Yan City
Yongding County is located in the mountainous
area of the Longyan City jurisdiction, in the western
part of Fujian Province. There are many architectural
designs of tulou in this area with a well-concentrated
distribution of clusters. The most common designs are
rectangular, round, triangular, pentagonal and octagonal.
Other designs also include D-shaped and 日(the Chinese
character for “sun”).
Yongkanglou is located in Xia Village between
Chuxi and Xiayang Town. It is an impressive building
with white plastered external walls and an elegant interior
with painted beams and carved pillars.
Built during the Qing Dynasty and located in
Nanxi. It is referred to as Fengzhi Dafu after an ancestor
was bestowed with the honorary title of “honest man”.
The interior has a luxurious layout and scholarly
atmosphere, and the gate and fence were designed to
imitate a dragon’s head and body.
Zhenfu Tower is now a tulou museum owned by
the county government, exhibiting designs, historical
records and other relevant information.
Huanjilou was built in 1693, the 32nd year of
Emperor Kangxi’s reign during the Qing Dynasty. In
1918 it withstood an earthquake measuring 6.2 on the
Richter scale and was used as the base by the Red Army
of China. Due to its connections with the Red Army,
the Earth House bombed during attacks by the
Kuomintang. However, water from the moat near the
gate extinguished the fire. A unique feature of this Earth
House is the echo effect that reverberates around the
• Chuxi Tulou
The Chuxi Tulou cluster includes five large circular
buildings and ten rectangular buildings. All building
names share the common word “Qing”, meaning
“celebration” (such as Jiqinglu and Shengqinglu), which
reflects the hospitable nature of the Hakka people.
• Gaobei Tulou
Gaobei Tulou is located in Gaobei village, and
includes the following structures:
Chengqilou: The biggest tulou in Yongding
County following a very classical design with a large
Stands beside Chengqilou and houses
the Yongding Tulou Cultural Museum, exhibiting
building designs of historical value, and cultural artefacts.
Wuyunlou: Built during the reign of Emperor
Wanli in the Ming Dynasty over five hundred years
ago, this is one of the oldest known earthen houses and
is still occupied by people.
• Hongkeng Tulou
Hongkeng Tulou, located in Hukeng town, is
the most concentrated of all earthen house clusters. Some
of the house designs are unique, including the
Zhenchenglou, Fuyulu (“Five-Phoenix House”)
Kuijulou, and Rushenglou.
Nanjing County, Zhangzhou City
Nanjing County is located southeast of Yongding
County, in the jurisdiction of Zhangzhou City. The
Tianluokeng Tulou and Hekeng Tulou are the most
Inside of Earthen
• Tianluokeng Tulou
This remote tulou cluster is located in Shangban
Village, Shuyang Town. It is composed primarily of four
round and one rectangular earthen houses, although some
less prominent houses are oval-shaped.
• Hekeng Tulou
Located in Hekeng Village, Shuyang Town, this
extremely extensive and impressive cluster consists of 27
Hua’an County, Zhangzhou City