Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Round Houses

In October of 2016 J had to go to Xiamen, China for work. We decided that Little O and I should join J for the weekend to do some sightseeing. J was particularly excited to be in this area because he has wanted to visit the Chinese round houses since before we moved to China.
Round houses are large multi-family communal living structures. This style is unique to the Hakka people from Southern China. The round walled villages were designed for defense, there is only one entrance and no windows on the ground level. Typically the structures were three to four stories tall with one meter thick walls. Each level had a different function - 1st for livestock and the well; 2nd for food storage and the 3rd/4th were for living.
To get to this village we had to get up early for a long/curvy/high speed drive from the city of Xiamen out to the hills. The drive is especially memorable because Little O got carsick...twice! The village was interesting, but overall it wasn't a great day. He also go threw up in one of the round houses, you know the 600 year old UNESCO World Heritage site! Thankfully the drive back to Xiamen was less eventful.
At the village that we visited there was one round house that was a museum (in the first picture it is the largest round building just to the left of the square house) and the others were still being used as family homes.
We didn't have much time to spend in this area of China. I know that J would have liked to visit a couple of the other villages. I believe that there is even a round house that is now a guest house. It would have been fun to stay for a night. 


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