Fujian Tulou, also known as the Hakka Earth Building because most of it was built by Fujian Hakka people. It is featured as “Living World Heritage” and Cluster of Hakka Culture. The Fujian Tulou is the most extraordinary type of Chinese rural dwellings.
In the year of 2008, 46 sites of Fujian Tulou was inscribed as the World Heritage Sites. Most of them scattered in Nanjing and Yongding County, including Tianluokeng Tulou Cluster, Gaobei Tulou cluster, Hongkeng Tulou Cluster, Hekeng Tulou Cluster, etc.
Tulou was born in the Song and Yuan Dynasties (AD.1230) and matured in the late Ming Dynasty, Qing Dynasty and Republic of China. Take soil, wood, stone, and bamboo as the main building materials, using uninterred soil and mixing a certain proportion of clay sand, the houses usually have two or more floors.
It is a collective building with many different shapes, such as round, semicircular, square, quadrangular, pentagonal, chair-shaped, and dome-shaped, and so on. Each has its own characteristics.
Its greatest feature is its large form. From the distance or to the front, the Tulou is shocking with its huge monolithic buildings. It is the largest rural dwellings of its kind. The diameter of a large round building can reach 70 to 80 meters and usually has 5th and 6th floors. There are four or five hundred houses in it and can accommodate seven to eight hundreds of people. This style of residential building embodies the Hakka folk customs of family unity.
It is interesting to know that due to their unique shape like an emerging mushroom, or of a flying saucer, these buildings were even believed by western countries to be China’s nuclear reactors in the Cold War (1947–1991).