There is a story broadly talked by Yongding people about the mystical Tulou that in the early 1960s, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) found the things which were similar to nuclear reactors in mountains of western Fujian province in satellite pictures, causing a panic in the White House. Therefore, American intelligence personnel went to the Tulou and investigated it to solve the suspicion and confusion. Since then, the Hakka Tulou which had existed for thousand years has become world-famous. Its square or round world, miracles, primitive simplicity, grand sight and beauty are so striking that achieved the honor of mysterious Oriental Ancient Castle.
There are tourist groups from Xiamen to Yongding Gaobei Tulou Group. The one-day trip charges RMB 120 per person, including the fees of lunch, tour guide, entrance ticket and round-trip fare. Tourists can reserve in the hostel where they live. In the next morning, the tour bus will come to pick up these tourists. It’s really courteous service.
Located in Yongding, Longyan City, western Fujian Province, and distributed with Hakka residential building groups, Yongding Tulou originated from Tang Dynasty and was gradually accepted by the local people and popularized in late Yuan and early Ming Dynasty. At present, Yongding Tulou stands out in the word of residential architectural art for its features of long history, unique style, grand scale and exquisite structure.
The Gaobei Tulou group consists of Chengqi Building, Qiaofu Building (Building of Doctor), Wuyun Building and Shize Building, etc., among which the Chengqi Building (also called Tianzhu Building) is the most grand and largest of Yongding County and is called “King of Tulou”. The doggerel that summarized by the tour guide is very easy to be memorized, which goes four-layer high, four-circle buildings, totally four hundred rooms; circle in circle, going through for three hundred years.
Chengqi Building is acclaim as the peak of perfection by many tourists because of its grand, heavy, rough and magnificent architectural style and the dignified and beautiful formative style of its garden and yard integrated with the poetic charm of mountain village.
Yongding Tulou falls into the square Tulou and round Tulou. The round Tulou, also called round stockade, is the model of Hakka residential buildings and mostly consists of two or three circles of buildings. From the outside to the inside, circle within circle, the outer circle is over 10m high and usually with the height of three or four floors and one or two hundred rooms. The first floor is the kitchen and dining room; the second floor is the warehouse and the third and fourth floors are bedrooms. The second circle has two floors with 30 to 50 rooms, usually used as guest rooms. The ancestral hall is in the middle which is the public place for weddings and funerals of hundreds of residents in the building. There are also facilities including wells, bathing pools and grinding mills.
Wuyun Building, the oldest Tulou of Yongding County, with more than six-hundred years of history, is under repair for it has been broken and damaged.
Qiaofu Building is the most modern building for it is also called Building of Doctor for ten doctors grew here and are living abroad now. There are family photos on the wall when they were with their doctorial hats.
After the visit, the tour guide warmly invited us to drink tea at her home. In fact, these tour guides are the residents in Tulou. Their principal economic income is from the tourism, local special products and Tie Guan Yin tea.
We tasted the fragrant tea, felt the vicissitudes of the world and human beings and perceived the meaning of life in the old castles with hundreds years of history. We were even reluctant to leave. Farewell, Yongding Tulou. I will keep this mysterious land in memory forever.