Hakka earth houses (Kejia Tulou) [客家土楼]

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The Hakka earth houses are a historic collection of buildings around 300 kilometers southwest of Fuzhou, constructed mainly in the Ming
and Qing dynasties by groups of Hakka - a Chinese minority who originated in northern China. The Hakka who settled here built large multi-storied round or square houses as large as 80 meters in diameter, around large central open spaces. From inside the houses seem more like amphitheatres, as the balconied tiers all look in to the centre and a sloping roof keeps the rain and sun off. From the outside, the buildings are just as impressive. Covered in thick layers of fire-resistant rammed earth and local materials, they are as much forts as h...

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The Hakka earth houses are a historic collection of buildings around 300 kilometers southwest of Fuzhou, constructed mainly in the Ming and Qing dynasties by groups of Hakka - a Chinese minority who originated in northern China. The Hakka who settled here built large multi-storied round or square houses as large as 80 meters in diameter, around large central open spaces. From inside the houses seem more like amphitheatres, as the balconied tiers all look in to the centre and a sloping roof keeps the rain and sun off. From the outside, the buildings are just as impressive. Covered in thick layers of fire-resistant rammed earth and local materials, they are as much forts as houses, and were designed to keep out bandits and wild animals. They did so very effectively: It is said that during the Ming Dynasty, Japanese pirates who invaded the coastal areas always left these buildings alone. Entire clans can live in one of these buildings, the larger ones of which consist of nearly 60 individual rooms. The smaller houses contain around 20 rooms. The houses are usually three stories and were shared by multiple families who slept and lived in the rooms on the highest floor (usually the third floor). The second floor was designed for storage, whilst the rooms on the ground level were used for cooking and eating, and all the stories are connected by a series of stairways. Getting there: the region is difficult to negotiate so it is highly recommended that visitors arrange to go with a guide.

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