The Fujian Tulou are unique Chinese residential buildings constructed by the Hakka people from Fujian Province.
The Tulou are enclosed by a thick, defenisve earth wall and are communal buildings housing up to 80 families. They were mostly built between the 12th to the 20th centuries.
Geoff Carey - April 2011
Recently went to Tu Lou sites in Yongding County and elsewhere in a more rural setting.
These buildings are certainly interesting, though to a certain extent it's a case of 'seen one, seen them all'. Only to a certain extent, however, and as long you choose buildings in different areas (rural v town edge, for example, or different styles (Hakka v Fujian), then they remain of interest.
For me, however, the big downside was the sale of cheap tourist souvenirs and other stuff everywhere. Every unit on the ground floors of most of the tulou we visited was flogging this stuff, and the internal courtyard was marred by large, brightly coloured umbrellas, there to keep the sun off the stallholders.
In addition, although tea is offered 'free' to drink, you are pushed to buy. That's fine, but there appears to be a lot of cheating going on via bait and switch. The tea you drink is nice, but the tea you buy is not. I found this particularly distasteful in a World Heritage Site.
I would suggest that consideration is given to ways of taking the sale of souvenirs out of the tulou in order to retain an element of their original feel and splendour. At present, they are marred.
Boj - October 2008
Went with a friend last week of August 2008 for a short weekend trip. Shanghai to Xiamen flights can be cheap, so check regularly. Regular buses from Xiamen to Yongding county; takes three to four hours. Haggle with the local drivers for a private coach to see several tulou locations.
The best tulou clusters are in Chuxi - quite far (almost close to the border of Guangdong) but it offers the best view from the nearby hill. The family in Yanxianglou (Mr. Su) are extremely friendly.
YS Chee - July 2008
I went to vist this beautiful village of Yongding in 2005 with some friends. We went there from Xiamen by a van and on the way to Yongding we stop at several villages and the food was indeed home cooked type of the Hakka people. The village people are mainly Hakkas and speak their hakka dialet which sound a little bit Cantonese and Mandarin. I was surprise to see that all those Tulou were quite well maintained and liveable.
I think goverments with large population should learn from the Hakkas on this type of housing programme. Would condsider another visit soon.
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Full name: Fujian Tulou
2008 - InscribedReasons for inscription
The site has 10 locations.
The site has 10 connections.
- Cold War Due to their unorthodox and strange appearance from the outside they were once mistaken for missile silos by the Americans during the cold war. (WIKI)
- Tobacco They are set among the terraced tea and tobacco plantations. Zhenfu Lou tulou was built by a businessman in 1913 to house workers for the tobacco industry. Part of the internal space was used for storing tobacco products (AB ev)
Religion and Belief
- Confucianism "The Confucian tradition has been retained inside the tulou and integrated with local customs and features. As a result, a unique dialect, folk art, religious ideas, and lifestyle came into being. Tulou provides important evidence in the study of anthropology and folkways." - AB Document
- Built in the 15th century "Fujian Tulou is a property of 46 buildings constructed between the 15th and 20th centuries over 120 km in south-west of Fujian province, inland from the Taiwan Strait." - Nomination File
- Customary ownership "According to the regulations in Land Administration Law of the People's Republic of China, the lands within the area of nominated property are owned by the peasant collectives. The Tulou buildings are privately owned by the inhabitants, and the public structures inside Tulou are owned by them collectively." (Nom File).