Yongding is a county in Fujian Province, being famous for its unique Hakkas culture, especially for the unique earthen buildings, which had been included in the UNSCO’s world heritage list. Last month (in the early September), I was lucky enough to visit these buildings.
The earthen building is either round or square, and was originally designed as large fortress and apartment building in one. These buildings were built with the mixture of clay and sandy soil, and the wall could be thicker than 1 meter (3.3 feet). The inside structure is made of wood. Almost all the earthen buildings are 4-storey buildings. Below is the bird’s-eye view of the earthen buildings.
On September 6, we boarded on the flight to Xiamen at 10:55 and left Guilin.
After 3-day tour in Xiamen, we took a bus to Yongding: our destination for visiting the unique earthen buildings, at the middle noon of September 9. The length of the time for the voyage direct between Xiamen and Yongding is about 3 hours. On our way to Yongding, we visit a famous earthen building complex in Nanjin County (a county neighbors Yongding): Tianluokeng Earthen Building Complex (田螺坑土楼群). We did not enter the earthen buildings for the limited visiting time. However, we viewed the earthen building complex at two viewing decks (the upper one and the lower one). See the photos below.
Hongkeng Earthen Building Complex
We visited the Hongkeng Earthen Building Complex (洪坑土楼群), which is a village and has been developed into a tourist attraction. There are tens of earthen buildings built in various structures in the village, and all of them are quite harmonious with the green hills, clean rivers and verdant trees. Externally, these buildings are largely identical but with minor differences. However, they have their own styles of decoration and inside structure.
The length of the time from Yongding County to the attraction is about 2-hour drive. The gate of the attraction is about 1 kilometer from the nearest earthen building: Qingyun Building (庆云楼). Visitors can take a storage battery car to get there, and the fee is 10 yuan.
Tip: There is an inn in Fuyu Building, and the accommodation condition is definitely not as good as that in a hotel. However, the small rooms are quite clean and wireless network is available.
Chengqi Building is about 15-minute drive from Hongkeng Earthen Building Complex. It is the largest earthen building in Fujian Province, and the construction time is long as half century, developed by three generations. First built in 1640s, the building is the resident of Jiang family (江姓家族). There are still the descendants of Jiang family living in the building today.
The diameter of the round building is 73 meters. Chengqi Building has four rings: the outer ring has 4 storeys, with 72 rooms in every storey; the second ring has two storeys, with 40 rooms each storey; the third ring has only one storey and 32 rooms; and the center is the ancestor’s hall. During the period of great prosperity, there were 800 people living inside the building. You can check the photos below.
Chuxi Earthen Building Complex (初溪土楼群)
After lunch, we set off to Chuxi Earthen Building Complex, which is located in Chuxi Village, Xiayang Town, Yongding County, and consists of five round buildings and tens of square buildings. Built in the mountainside, Chuxi Earthen Building Complex should be the most graceful earthen building complex in Yongding. One earthen building, Wu Hua Tian Bao (/woo hwa tyen baoww/ has been developed into a museum, which shows the history and the historic relics related to Hakkas.
We went back to Xiamen, and then took a flight returning to Guilin.
Following are some photos for the delicious snacks in Yongding.
Notice: It is better to join in a tour group to visit the earthen buildings, because it is really inconvenient to transfer buses according to your trip. This time, we have rented a bus, that’s why we could arrange our tour freely and conveniently.