EPA’s Eye In The Sky: Fujian Province, China

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An aerial picture taken with a drone shows Tulou houses in Nanjing County, Fujian Province, China.

 Fujian Tulou houses (tolou literal translation would be earthen) were built among rice, tea and tobacco fields and oldest one’s date from 12th century.

They are several stores high built in inward-looking circular or square shape. This layout was chosen for defense reasons as well as so that members of family or clan, who lived inside, could feel equal among each other’s. Bigger ones could accommodate up to 800 people so they were organized as a small fortified cities with school and temple in the central open courtyard, halls, storehouses, wells and living areas around them on the ground floor.

Today most of the Tulou houses are still inhabited by inheritors of original builders, and except farming the lands around them and trading, they are opened to tourists, so most of the Tulou?s can be visited. In 2008, 46 Fujian Tulou sites were inscribed by UNESCO as World Heritage Site.

Residents of Tulou houses are happy to tell and explain to visitors a story that in 1980’s American CIA thought Tulou houses were nuclear silos when they saw them from the satellite, so they sent a man pretending to be a photographer with his wife who was Chinese origin to inspect them.

Story is told and heard with a smile on faces from people on the both sides, showing their doubt in the story and questioning if it’s just a tourist bait fairy tale.


Once you're here...

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