“Fuijan Tulou”: Chinese Circular Communities

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Defined as “large multi-story buildings, which appear in the mountainous area of south-east Fuijan”, these communities are much more.

The ” Fuijan Tulou” are essentially circular buildings (although they also exist in square and rectangular shapes) which are used to house and protect a whole clan from bandits and outside animals, confining up to 80 families around a central courtyard and separating them from the mountain’s bad weather by means of tapial walls up to two metres thick.

Built during the 12th to 20th centuries, the Tulou family were originally made up of this perimeter wall in terms of structure: a wall perforated only at the single entrance and at various strategic points such as gun ports. The rest of the structures that make up the Tulou are almost dismountable elements, wooden structures that make up the houses and that close off the courtyard according to the needs of the inhabitants. These form a colony, a single community that must be maintained and self-managed through its own resources and trade with the surrounding Tulou.

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The Tulou have been accepted as a World Heritage Site, although of the 3,000 that currently exist, many of them are in ruins without a budget plan dedicated to their maintenance. The inhabitants of these mountainous areas have begun to migrate to the big cities in search of a different lifestyle, leaving these large structures as empty in the forest, large hidden patios which balconies overlook an abysmal absence of life.

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