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Fujian Tulou
Site number:
Type of site: Cultural
Date: 12-20th centuri
Date of Inscription: 2008
Location: Asia, China, southwestern Fujian
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Description: Built between the 12th and 20th centuries over 120 km in south-west of Fujian province (inland from the Taiwan Strait), Fujian Tulou is a property of 46 houses. The earthen houses of tulou are set amongst rice, tea and tobacco fields. Meant to house 800 people each, the houses are several storeys high and built along an inward-looking, circular or square floor plan. For defence purposes they were built up surrounding an open central courtyard and incorporated only a few windows facing the outside and holding only one entrance. Accommodating whole clans they functioned as village units and were each called “a little kingdom for the family” or a “bustling small city.” Made of tall fortified mud walls top off by tiled roofs with wide over-hanging eaves; the most intricate structures were built in the 17th and 18th centuries. Each family had two or three rooms on each floor, as the buildings were divided vertically between families. Though the exterior of the tolou often seems plain, the interiors were actually built for comfort and were often highly decorated. The site was inscribed due to its exemplification of a harmonious relationship with its environment, a building tradition and function illustrating a type of communal living and defensive organization, and because it is an outstanding example of human settlement. --WHMNet paraphrase from the description at WHC Site, where additional information is available.
Reference: 1. UNESCO World Heritage Center, Site Page.
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