Nanjing Tulou Travel Guide
Tulou is a unique style construction which was built in the mountains in Fujian Province, it is known as "the fabulous mountain building". Tulou usually has three to five floors. The first floor is kitchen, the second floor is warehouse, from the third floor is the living rooms; one Tulou is habitable 200 - 700 persons.
Tulou translate into English is "Soil Building", it shows the main material for Tulou is soil. The soil was mixed with lime, sand, sticky rice, brown sugar, bamboo, wood, etc. rubbed once and once again, at last pounded the soil mixture into the wall of Tulou. The solid soil wall protected the resident clans from theft, earthquake, typhoon, beast, fire and moisture. Further more, living in Tulou is ventilation and lighting, cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
Tulou was first built in Tang Dynasty as barracks, castles and fortress. From Tang to Qing Dynasty, in the mountain area of south Fujian Province, there was lots of Robbers, thiefs, wars; under the special social environment, to protect the whole clan, every local resident built Tulou architecture, that is why you could see so many Tulou in this area.
Tianluokeng Tulous is located in the hillside of Hudong Hill which is about 60 km from downtown Nanjing Country, all residents are from Huang clan (with the framily name "Huang"). There are five Tulous in Tianluokeng: three are rounded, named Zhenchang Tulou, Ruiyun Tulou and Hechang Tulou; one is quadrate, named Buyun Tulou; and one is elliptic, named Wenchang Tulou. Local resident dubbed "four dishes and one soup" because the five Tulous look like a Chinese family's dinner table - soup (quadrate Tulou) is in the middle and other dishes (three rounded and one elliptic) surround the soup. There is a building on the left hand of Tulous, it is the ancestral hall of Huang family.
The soup Buyun Tulou (quadrate one) was the first one to be built since 1796 AD, it has 3 floors, 26 rooms in each floor, 4 stairs. It was named Buyun shows the good wishes to the family members - "hoping they could pass the imperial test to be officers and promote to higher position. To be the pride of the family."
Yuchang Tulou is the oldest Tulou in Nanjing Country, it was built in the end of Yuan Dynasty, around 1368 AD. Liu,Luo,Zhang,Tang and Fan five Families built it together. It is 18.2 meter heigh with 5 floors, there are 54 rooms in each floor, totals 270 rooms. It cover an area of 2289 square meters and the construction area is 6358.2 square meters. It is a rounded Tulou, with corridors in every floors, wall thickness on the first floor is 1.8 meter and reducing 10 cm up layer by layer.
Yuchang Tulou is an interesting building, on the third and fourth floors, the corridor pillars clockwise tilt; and the pillars anticlockwise tilt on the fifth floor. The maximum tilting angle is 15 degrees. It looks like it will fall down easily in the wind, but, till now, 600 years past, after several earthquakes and typhoons, it still stands there.
Another interesting thing is, Yuchang Tulou was built with the model of Five Elements. They use the numbers of the room as divinatory symbols, it has five divinatory symbols, large divinatory symbols include 13 rooms and small divinatory symbols has 9 rooms, divided by stairs. And it has five observation platforms on the wall. So, Yuchang Tulou have lots of five: five families living here, five floors Tulou, five stairs, five observation platforms. All of these follow the "five elements", show the good wishes to the residnets.Besides, Yuchang Tulou place their ancestral hall on the counrtyard, it is really different from Yianluokeng Tulous.
Now, there are 18 Liu Family 110 persons still living in the Yuchuang Tulou.
Taxia Village was first built in 1436 AD, now there are about 300 families live here. Tulous in the village were built along the river,except the common square and round, there are aprons shaped and L-shaped. Besides, the most unique is there are buildings with China Jiangnan Watertown style by the side of Tulous.
Yude Tulou is the aprons-shaped Tulou, it is now a hotel.
A half of Yude Tulou Room collapsed, remain a wall standing there, it is look like a apron around when we do the house work, so it is called "Apron Tulou".