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Journeys in time 2010-5-26 Secrets of the Fujian Tulou Part 1- Comfortable dwellings

05-26-2010 18:41 BJT


Today, we’re beginning a brand new series, all about one of the most extraordinary types of house in China; the tulou. Now, the tulous are rural dwellings found in the southeastern province of Fujian. Constructed from the 12th century right up to the 20th, tulous are typically three to five story structures with a thick earthen wall and a single entrance. They tend to be vast, well-fortified structures, capable of housing up to 800 people. In fact, they originally functioned as village units offering safety, shelter and a sense of community. In 2008, the tulous were named as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Among the thousands of Tulou buildings, the Zhengcheng Tulou is one of the most famous. Popularly, it is known as “The Prince of the Tulous”.

Lin Rigeng(林日耕) was excited at the success of the Tulous’ World Heritage application. To him and his companions, it meant more tourists and more income. Perhaps, even more important was the pride it gave them in their ancestors and the brilliant cultural heritage they created.

The Yongding Tulous are unique among the tulous in terms of their scale and historical importance. They are virtually perfect in their construction; they are not only highly practical; also, some of their features make them objects of great beauty. 
The term "tulou" first appeared in a Zhangzhou(漳州) county record dating from 1573, at the time of the Ming Dynasty. The record states that the growing prevalence of bandits had persuaded many villagers to build walled strongholds and tulous as a means of defending themselves. Most tulous were occupied by a single large clan made up of several generations, although some of the larger tulous were home to more than one clan. The strong buildings and the close community spirit among the tulous’ residents deterred even the most powerful bandit gangs from attacking. Since being included on the World Cultural Heritage list, Fujian's tulous have been receiving large crowds of visitors.

Editor:James |Source: CNTV.CN

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