Setting off at 9:10, it’s about a 4-hour journey directly to Xiayang County from the highway bus station on South Hubin Road, Xiamen City. The routine is Xiamen – Zhangzhou – Nanjing - Xiayang. The road was bumpy, and I fell asleep soon. Sleeping has always made me miss beautiful landscapes. This time was no exception. Not aware of how long I had slept, I was shocked by the scenery out of the window the minute I woke up. I sobered up immediately and started to keep snapping photos. It’s after asking around when I realized we were getting to our destination. What a shame! I had slept for 3 hours.
Around 12:00 at noon, we arrived at the bus station of Hongkeng Earth Building Cultural Village, Yongding County in Fujian Province. The vehicle that our bus driver had booked for us was already there waiting for us. A little similar to the omnibus, it’s a seven-seat vehicle, which is possibly made in China. I was not sure of its brand. The driver is a very young man. After a hard bargain, we got a quite fair price: 100 RMB for half a day (Generally it would be 120-150 RMB for a small van like Changhe Brand. It was so cheap. Maybe because it was the off-season). With the price settled, we fared forth directly to the Hongkeng Earth Building Cultural Village. On the way, we inquired the young man and knew that his uncle was the owner of the famous Earth Building Prince - the Zhencheng Building. So, the young man could get us a 20% off for the ticket to the village (Zhencheng Building is more well-known than many other buildings in this village.).
After a feast, we started to look into this village. Before coming here, I heard from some natives that It would be a merely 1-hour visit. However, we didn’t finish it after over 3 hours. It really differs from people to people according to their preferences. In general, the quantity of earth buildings in this village is really big. There were residents in every building. Some of the buildings were not so notable, but with their unique features to attract you. I will concentrate on introducing 2 of the most notable buildings: the “Earth Building Prince” - the Zhencheng Building, and the “Palace-style Earth Building” - Fuyu Building.
The “Prince” is designed according to the Eight Trigram. Built in 1912, it covers an area of 5,000 m2. Suspended on the top of the mountain in post-and-lintel construction, it has inner and outer circles, forming a pattern of “building inside building, building out of building”. The front gate is in “Xun Trigram”, while the back door is in “Qian Trigram”. The outer circle building has 4 floors, with 48 rooms on each floor. For each trigram, it has 6 rooms. Every trigram is a unit with stairway. There are archways between trigrams as connection. The building has one hall and two wells (corresponding to the yin and yang of the Eight Trigram), three gates (the front gate and the side doors on both ends, referring to the three life forces: Heaven, Earth and Human beings), and eight units. The walls between trigrams are fire walls. If somewhere is on fire, it won’t involve the whole building. There are also doors between trigrams. Closing them, the trigrams are separate units, while opening them, the trigrams can communicate with each other.
The “Palace-style Earth Building” - Fuyu Building is the outstanding representative of the Yongding Palace-style Earth Buildings, gorgeous and splendid. Started from 1880, it took 3 years and over ten thousand silver dollars to build this over 7,000 m2 building. It was designed by one of the friends of the three owners in brotherhood (Lin Zhongshan, Lin Renshan and Lin Deshan) Zhang Bingxing, who was the magistrate of Tingzhou.
Moreover, there are other featured buildings like “the Potala Palace like earth building” - Quiju Building, “the minimum pocket-size round building” - Rusheng Building, the Earth building Museum - Qingcheng Building, etc.
On this stop-and-go trip, we took many photos and exclaimed a lot. Our hearts beat so quickly. It’s really hard to describe our excited mood. When we thought about time, unknowingly the watch showed it’s nearly 5 o’clock while we still didn’t see the Tall North Earth Buildings. Since we had to get to Taxia Village of Xiayang before dark to pass the night, we left the Hongkeng Village reluctantly and went to the Tall North Earth Buildings. It’s lucky that the Tall North Earth Buildings take only 10 minutes to go. Since we were in a hurry, we decided to go the “Queen of the earth buildings” - the Chengqi Building. We spared more time for her so as to appreciate its beauty slowly.
The earth buildings gave us too many surprises. You can see a different scenery for every step. When we were in the Hongheng earth buildings, I thought Fuyu Building might be the most splendid earth building. It was not until we got to Chengqi Building was I really shocked. I went all the way upstairs to the top as I couldn’t wait to see its whole view.
The “Queen of the earth buildings” - Chengqi Building is said to lay the foundations in Chong Zhen years of the Ming Dynasty and complete in Kangxi Years of the Qing Dynasty. It has passed 3 generations and overlooked half of the century. Chengqi Building is tall, stately, rugged and magnificent in style. Its dignified and beautiful figures in yards and gardens fit well with the poetic charm of the mountain village, which takes the breathe of numerous visitors. “Four floor height, four circle building, four hundred rooms from top to bottom; round in round, circle out of circle, three hundred years of vicissitudes” is a vivid description for this building.