China’s Massive Earthen Fortresses Once Housed Up To 800 People; Clarissa Wei; National Geographic

China – Fujian Tulou

Discover the giant multistoried homes in a Chinese fortress.

Tucked in the rolling subtropical mountains of the southeast Chinese province of Fujian are a series of giant multi-storied homes built with wood and fortified with mud walls. Constructed between the 15th and 20th centuries, these massive communal homes were sited with feng shui principles and are purposefully nestled amidst tea, tobacco, and rice fields and bountiful forests of pine and bamboo.

These 46 structures are known as the Fujian Tulou. Throughout history, their residents have mostly been Hakka—migrants in southern China who originated from lands adjacent to the Yellow River. Population pressures created conflict between the Hakka and their neighbours, so they built their homes to double as fortification structures.

Walls are up to 1.5 metres thick and can reach 18 metres high. Defensive features include ironclad gates, escape tunnels, and backup stock of grains and livestock.

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