BEIJING, China – On Feb. 20, 2011, hosted by the Fujian Provincial Tourism Administration and Longyan Municipal Government, produced by JSB Destination Marketing Co. Ltd., the “Fujian Tulou Hakka Yongding” destination promotion conference and global marketing campaign launch ceremony was held in Beijing.
Fujian Hakka Tulou is “the most extraordinary type of Chinese rural dwelling” of the Hakka and others in the mountainous areas of western Fujian, China. They were mostly built between the 12th and the 20th centuries.
A tulou is usually a large, enclosed, and fortified earth building, rectangular or circular in configuration, with very thick load-bearing rammed earth walls between three and five stories high, and can house up to 80 families. Smaller interior buildings are often enclosed by these huge peripheral walls which can contain halls, storehouses, wells and living areas, with the whole structure resembling a small fortified city.
The fortified outer structures are formed by compacting earth, mixed with stone, bamboo, wood and other readily-available materials, to form walls up to 6 feet (1.8 m) thick. Branches, strips of wood, and bamboo chips are often laid in the wall as additional reinforcement. The end result is a well-lit, well-ventilated, windproof and earthquake-proof building that is warm in winter and cool in summer.
Yongding County, located in the west of Xiamen, is the hometown of Fujian Hakka Tulou. Hakka Yongding is also known as the “Kingdom of Earth Buildings” where there are more than 23,000 Tulous scattered through out Yongding County, including thousands of large-scale Tulous.
On July 7, 2008, at the 32nd session of the UNESCO World Heritage Conference, Fujian Tulou was officially added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Fujian Tulou has attracted a vast number of tourists since it was included on the World Heritage List. The number of tourists soared to 1 million in 2010, compared to 700,000 in 2009 and 300,000 in 2008. Yongding County will increase tourism investments year by year and will strive to receive up to 2 million tourists in 2011, according to Qiyong Wang, the Deputy Secretary of the Nanjing County Party Committee and the vice governor of Yongding County Government.
During the Spring Festival of 2010, President Hu Jintao visited Zhengchen Lou and Chengqi Lou, singing high praise for Hakka Tulou. He said Hakka Tulou is not only a world heritage site, but a treasure of Chinese tradition culture, a typical community where families live harmoniously under the same roof for generations. President Hu’s visit triggered the booming of tourism of Hakka Tulou in Yongding county, Longyan City, Fujian province.
Zhenchenglou, nicknamed “the prince of tulou”, is located in Hongkeng village, Hukeng township of Yongding County. It was built in 1912 by the descendents of a rich tobacco merchant. Zhenchenglou is a double ring tulou. Its outer ring is four stories high with 184 rooms, while the inner ring is two stories with 32 rooms. The outer ring was partitioned into four segments according to Bagua concepts of Chinese Fengshui. Western influence is evident in the Greek style columns of the ancestral hall, and in the wrought iron railing of the second level corridor.
Chengqilou, nicknamed “the king of tulou”, part of the Gaobei Tulou cluster at Gaotou village of Yongding County, was built in 1709. It is a massive rotunda tulou with four concentric rings surrounding an ancestral hall at the centre, the outer ring is 62.6 meters in diameter and four stories tall, with 288 rooms. 72 rooms line each level, with circular corridors on the 2nd to 4th floors, and four sets of staircases at cardinal points, which connect the ground to top floors. The ground floor rooms are kitchens for family branches, the second level rooms are grain storage rooms, and the 3rd and 4th floor rooms are living quarters and bedrooms. The second ring of 80 rooms is two stories high, with 40 rooms on each level, the third ring serves as a community library, one storey with 32 rooms; there are 370 rooms in all. The 4th ring is a circular, covered corridor surrounding the ancestral hall. If a person stayed for one night in each room, it would take him more than a year to go through all the rooms. At its heyday, there were more than 80 families, up to 600 people, who lived in Chengqilou.