These are living communities. A few have been abandoned in favor of apartment blocks and are melting back into the earth, as mud-brick construction does, but most of the thousands scattered through the hills of the province continue to be villages in themselves, enjoyed and maintained by the Hakka communities that occupy them. A few of the largest individual tulous and clusters have become tourist attractions but if you hurry you'll likely be, as I was, one of the only western tourists for ...
Thanks, Dgems. When I wrote this piece, last year, I didn't have access to my own photos. In the next month or so I plan to post a gallery of my own pictures of the tulou so you'll have a better idea of the variety of structures and ambiance of the area.
Thank you for bringing us back these wonderful photos of a secret splendor. (I still want to know what happened to you without easy communication. Those are the moments that challenge and expand us, and they must have for you. )
HistoryDigger, I'll explain. At the end of the first day of tulou visits, the large tour bus rendezvoused with a small van and it was indicated that I should bring my things and come with a young man. Since no one could explain, I had to simply trust and go along, an interesting sensation. I later realized that I was the only one who had opted for the second day. The young man drove me to a very basic village of mostly new buildings built, I suspect but of course don't know, for...
I'm amazed at seeing this. At first I was thinking, well, communal dwelling, sort of like pueblos, and then I realized that this is much bigger, since you said there are hundreds of these. Do you know if they are in other areas of China, too? Are people still building like that now?
Sisyphus, not to nit-pick, but thousands of them according to everything I've read, not hundreds. They're built by the Hakka people so confined to Fujian and neighboring provinces. I suspect there may not be many under construction as efforts seem to be going toward maintaining the ones standing. When I was walking through the clusters I visited there were a few abandoned and in disrepair but not many, at least that I saw. There very well may be more unmaintained in remoter areas. Young...
No, Rob. Sorry, I don't remember. I read a lot of publications, online and off, and the original picture got lost in the dust of enthusiasm to research logistics. I don't think there's any lack of enthusiasm in the world but that obscure places are getting less obscure every day. What I do think is lacking is imagination. We tend to read about places people have enjoyed, as here on TravelGumbo and follow, rather than setting out for parts unknown. I believe if a place is hard to get to it...
I well remember that first story because it convinced us what a great story-teller you were. We've since learned that your eye for photographic detail is equally (if not more-so) refined. The two together are dynamite! Love these photos and the look at life in a truly unique and interesting place.
I liked the last photos, but yours with people are even better! I see now why you stated, "One cannot really feel the monumental size of the some of them from a photograph." Your photos though do a great job in capturing that size !
From time to time a single photograph of a striking place or building will be the irresistible impetus for a trip to see the thing in person. In surrendering to these urges I've found I really cannot go wrong.
On the second day of a 2-day tour of Fujian tulou clusters, begun with a large Chinese group on a bus and finished the next day alone on foot, I walked along a road with my non-English speaking guide and came upon this beautiful house.
Marching through the hills of Fujian, China, from one tulou to another, I and my all-Chinese tour companions went at a clip through a beautiful riverside village, walking on paths and climbing stairways built of stone.
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