Deep within Fujian Province are the stunning traditional villages of the Hakka people, famed for constructing these huge, walled villages known as Tulou.
I stayed a couple of days in the village of Liulian – the first night in a basic small room on the top level of a Tulou (top-most image). And a second night in a cheap guest-house, overlooking this same Tulou, enjoying the view with some beer on the balcony (where I took the photo at sunset). During the day, I hiked a local motorbike rider to explore other Hakka villages in the surrounding countryside.
INFO from Wikipedia: The Hakka were originally immigrants from northern China who settled in the southern provinces. From the 17th century onwards, population pressures drove them more and more into conflict with their neighbors. As rivalry for resources turned to armed warfare, the Hakka began building communal living structures designed to be easily defensible.
These houses were often round in shape and internally divided into many compartments for food storage, living quarters, ancestral temple, armoury etc. The largest houses covered over 40,000 m² and it is not unusual to find surviving houses of over 10,000 m².
Hakka walled villages can be constructed from brick, stone, or rammed earth, with the last being the most common. The external wall is typically 1 metre in thickness and the entire building could be up to three or four stories in height. The gate was the most vulnerable point and it was usually reinforced with stone and covered with iron.
The round shape of the walls added to the defensive value of the fortifications and reduced the firepower of artillery against it. A Hakka fort could withstand a protracted siege, since it was well stocked with grains and had an internal source of water.