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The Fujian tulou

The Fujian tulou ( 福建土楼; literally: “Fujian earthen buildings”) are Chinese rural dwellings unique to the Hakka in the mountainous areas in southeastern Fujian, China. They were mostly built between the 12th and the 20th centuries. A tulou is usually a large, enclosed and fortified earth building, most commonly rectangular or circular in configuration, with very thick load-bearing rammed earth walls between three and five stories high and housing up to 800 people. Smaller interior buildings are often enclosed by these huge peripheral walls which can contain halls, storehouses, wells and living areas, the whole structure resembling a small fortified city. Most of the tulou (with the exception of the Dadi tulou cluster in Hua’an county) are found in a relatively small geographical area, straddling the boundary between the Yongding and Nanjing counties, Fujian province. A total of 46 Fujian tulou sites were inscribed in 2008 by UNESCO as World Heritage Site, as “exceptional examples of a building tradition and function exemplifying a particular type of communal living and defensive organization [in a] harmonious relationship with their environment”.

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