Tianluokeng Tulou cluster

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Tianluokeng Tulou cluster
Earth buildings-Tianluokeng.jpg
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Official name Fujian Tulou
Location People's Republic of China Edit this at Wikidata
Coordinates 24°35′N 117°04′E / 24.59°N 117.06°E / 24.59; 117.06
Criteria Cultural: iii, iv, v
Reference 1113
Inscription 2008 (32nd Session)
Tianluokeng Tulou cluster is located in China
Tianluokeng Tulou cluster
Location of Tianluokeng Tulou cluster
Earth building group at TianLuokeng
Interior of Tianluokeng Tulou cluster

Tianluokeng tulou cluster (田螺坑土楼群) is one of the better known groups of Fujian Tulou. It is located in Fujian province, Zhangzhou City, Nanjing County, Shuyang Township, Tian Luo Keng Village (literally "Snail Pit" Village) in southern China.

The cluster consists of a square earth building at the center of a quincunx, surrounded by four round earth buildings (or more exactly, 3 round earth buildings and one oval shape earth building), figuratively nicknamed "四菜一汤, Si cai yi tang" (four dishes with a soup).

A tulou (lit. "earth building") is a unique architecture found only in the mountainous areas bordering Fujian and Guangdong in southern China. The "Earth building" is an enclosed buildings, usually square or circular in shape, with a very thick earth wall (up to 6 feet thick) and wooden skeletons, from three to five storeys high, housing up to 80 families, these earth buildings have only one entrance, guarded by 4–5-inch-thick (100–130 mm) wooden doors re-enforced with an outer shell of iron plate. The top level of these earth building have gun holes for defence against bandits; in spite of the earth wall, some of them are more than 700 years old, surviving through centuries of natural elements, including earthquakes, yet still standing solid. There are more than 35,000 earth buildings to be found in southern China, among them a little over 3,000 have been classified as Fujian Tulou

On July 7, 2008, at the UNESCO 32nd session held in Quebec City, Canada, the Tianluokeng Tulou cluster was inscribed as one of 46 Fujian Tulou World Heritage Sites.[1]

Buyun building main gate
Interior of Wenchang earth building

The five earth buildings at the Snail Pit village are:

  • The square earth building named Buyun building(Reaching the Cloud building) at the center of the quincunx. It was the first earth building at this site, built in 1796, it is three storeys high, each storey has 26 rooms, four sets of stairs, and a circular corridor in front of the rooms. The Buyun building was burnt down by bandits in 1936, and rebuilt in 1953 according to the original shape.
  • The Hechang building, a three storey high round earth building,
  • Zhenchang building, three storey, round shape, 26 rooms per storey, built in 1930
  • Ruiyun building, built in 1936,
  • The last Wenchang building of 1966, 3 storeys, 32 rooms per storey.

The cluster is located about four hours drive by motor coach or taxi from Xiamen, through winding and bumpy narrow mountain roads (Fujian Provincial Highway 309 (S309), or county roads).


Coordinates: 24°35′14″N 117°03′19″E / 24.58722°N 117.05528°E / 24.58722; 117.05528