China is a country with a rich history and beautiful landscape. In the last few years, Thierry Bornier has spent his time traveling long and far to discover everything the country has to offer. Some of his discoveries – including Fujian Tulou – can be visited with him at one of the photography workshops.
Like many of China’s ancient monuments, Fujian Tulou was built to be functional. It is unclear exactly when these earthen structures, tulou, were built. Experts estimate they were built sometime between the 15th and 20th centuries. The round and square buildings can be found throughout the province, with the largest concentration of them located in the Nanjing Tulou Scenic Area.
Historically, these homes were meant to be much more than a shelter. They were built with the two main purposes: protection and communal living. The most common round shape and thick walls were to have 360-degree visibility from inside. Within the walls, was the home for a family “clan” from the Hakka minority. The building would serve as a single, community living space that were often called “a little kingdom for the family”. Beyond building vertically, many of the buildings also had inner layers to create more useful space. Each floor and concentric circle had its own function from bathroom and sleeping facilities to grain storage to a place of honor for ancestors, these buildings were meant to be self-sustaining should they fall under attack.
These UNESCO World Heritage structures represent an architecture unlike any other found in the area and are a truly unique destination to visit.
For those who are looking to visit, China Highlights has broken the area in three separate visitors sections:
Nanjing Tulou Area
This is the most well known tulou area to visit. It has easy access and variety of structures that make it a key destination. Among the types of tulou’s that can be found are the Tianluokeng Cluster, Yuchang Tulou (the tilting tulou), and Huaiyuan (one of the most well preserved structures).
Yuchang Tulou Area
This is the largest portion of the Fujian tulou region and has a variety of notable buildings, among them are four unique clusters that offer some of the most scenic views of the region. The Yuchang area is home to many of the larger tulou structures including Kuiju (a palace style), Fuyu (a mansion style), and Chengqi (the largest tulou).
Of the three regions, this is the least touristic – it is also the smallest. One of the notable buildings that can be found here is Eryi which is considered one of the most liveable buildings for its location near mountains and creeks.
Whether you are visiting the region with a Thierry Bornier Photography Workshop or for sheer pleasure, it is sure to be a unique experience and insider look to the lives of the Hakka clans.