Tulou Package Tour (Hongkeng Village + Gaobei Tulou + Chengqi Building)

Yongding Hakka Tulou is worth seeing, it is dated from the Tang Dynasty and gradually accepted by the local people at the turning of Yuan and Ming Dynasties. According to the introduction of tour guide, the construction of Tulou (earth building) was related to the defending against the invasion of bandits of south Fujian at that time. It was always the solid self-defense fort of Hakka people.

Walking in along the gate of Hongkeng Village spot, the first thing that catches our eyeballs is Zhencheng Building. The tour guide told us it is the largest round Tulou in the Hongkeng Village Tulou cluster and known as “Tulou Prince”. Many buildings in the Yongding Hakka Tulou cluster were designed based on eight-trigram diagram and the Zhencheng Building is the most typical representative.

Zhencheng Building was built in 1912, covering 5,000 square meters, with overhanging gable roof and post-and-lintel structure. It consists of inner and outer circle-buildings, forming a building-in-building pattern. The outer circle-building comprise of 4 floors, 48 rooms on each floor and 6 rooms for each trigram; each trigram is designed with one stairway, forming one unit; the trigrams are separated by fire division walls. The entire building will not get burnt for the accidental fire of one trigram; the trigram doors are also designed between trigrams. Each trigram becomes an independent space when the door is closed and can be connected with the door is open. When a thief enters the building, the thief will be caught as easy as catching a turtle in a jar after the door is closed.

The magnificent “Mansion-style Tulou” Fuyu Building is an outstanding representative of Yongding mansion-style Tulou, which was designed by the Magistrate of Tingzhou Prefecture, Zhang Xingbing, who was a friend of the owner three brothers (Lin Zhongshan, Lin Renshan, Li Deshan). Its structure features are: along the central axes of the main building, the front is lower than the rear. There are two side buildings in front of the main building with orderly height and distinct layout.  

“Palatial Tulou” Kuiju Building, like the Potala Palace in Tibet, is a square Tulou with palatial structure, embodying the unique ingenuity and wisdom of Hakka people. According to the record, the owners of Kuiju Building have valued education for over hundred years. Men of talent came out in succession. There were 4 persons from this Tulou who passed the provincial-level civil service examination and became seventh-rank officials and above, more than 20 undergraduates and more than 40 overseas Chinese. It was damaged during the “Cultural Revolution”.

Chengqi Building is the representative of Gaobei Tulou Village, which is a “round building with most circle-buildings and most residents”, comprising of 4 circles of buildings. With over 300 years of history, it is located beside road, famous for being printed on stamp and stressing geomantic omen. The Wuyun Building near Chengqi Building is famous for its long history. With inclined walls, it looks like to be collapsed sooner or later. It is said that there is an eighty-year-old man lives alone in it. There are many old-fashioned picture posters of the magnificent scenery of China at the entrance, which shows the unfulfilled great aspiration of travelling across the country of the old man. 

Walking out of the Tulou, you can see a great amount of persimmons are being dried in the sun by the river.

During the sightseeing, I have found the Yongding Tulou mainly is divided into square Tulou and round Tulou. The round Tulou (also round stockade) is the typical Hakka residence, mostly comprising of two or three circle-buildings. Form inside to outside, circle inside another circle, it is very magnificent. Generally, the outer circle is three-floor to four-floor, about 100~200 rooms. The first floor is kitchen and meal room; the second floor is warehouse for storing army provisions for wartime demands; three or four floor is the bedroom. The second circle is two-floor, about 30~50 rooms, usually used as guest rooms.

The center is ancestral hall. There are also common facilities inside the building, including well, bathroom, grinding mill, etc. 

It can be said as a kind of comfort for us for visiting the Tulou culture with such unique charm. If there is a chance next time, I must come to Tulou again and continue to discover its real charm and connotation.