When it comes to discover the unique ancient dwellings of the world, you can’t miss those in China. China has some of the world’s most distinctive ancient dwellings, with beautiful, delicate craft and elegant, artistic design rarely seen in the world architecture. Moreover, many of them are still well-preserved and in good condition. This is a list of a representative selection of traditional Chinese dwellings, with which you will also have a deeper knowledge of local customs and lifestyles, as well as the ancient Chinese culture.
Tulou, mainly distributed in the mountainous areas of South China’s Fujian province, is a unique type of rural dwellings of the Hakka people. These odd-looking structures were mostly built between the 12th and the 20th centuries, primarily aimed at defending against the bandits and robbers. Usually a tulou is made into a vast, enclosed and fortified earth building, capable of housing up to 80 families living a communal life.
Huizhou Architectures in Southern Anhui (皖南徽式建筑)
Head to the ancient Hongcun and Xidi villages in southern Anhui province and we promise you’ll be dazzled. There are clusters of well preserved dwellings of white walls, black roofs, delicate structure and beautiful decorations dating back to Ming and Qing Dynasty. They fully demonstrate the extraordinary characteristics of Huizhou architecture style, which is regarded as an fine example of ancient Chinese residential buildings.
Another UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site in China, Diaolou in Kaiping country, Guangdong province is a multi-storeyed defensive tower building and a special type of residential house. It is a perfect blend of Chinese, ancient Greek, ancient Roman and Islamic structural and decorative forms. There are all together 1,800 tower houses in Kaiping, retaining a harmonious relationship with the local agricultural landscape.
Stilted Building in West Hunan (湘西吊脚楼)
Stilted Building of Tujia minority people is a gem of Chinese residence and its timberwork structure system is further fantastic. The houses are mostly built down the hillside, supported by wooden pillars. People live on the second floor, while the first elevated ground floor is served as the storehouse, which is against moisture and allows for wind movement. If you make a trip to Fenghuang ancient town, you will see Stilted Building on the riverside.
Cave Dwelling in Qikou Ancient Town (碛口窑洞)
On the Loess Plateau of Northern China, Qikou is an enchanted culture-rich ancient town. It was an important ferry along Yellow River, making its dwelling a unique fortress style with mixed features of ancient Chinese commercial town and Northwest Jin’s traditional dwellings. what’s more surprising is the distinctive cave dwelling in the Lijiashan Village, which resembles a huge tomb with individual cave-like gates and windows.
Pingyao Old Town Dwellings (平遥民居)
The residential houses of Pingyao is of the courtyard style – typical northern China dwelling, including the principal room facing south, a wing room, festoon gate, big gate, screen wall and some other essential structures and decorations. The Ancient Dwellings Town situated on No. 18 West Avenue of the old town is the home to the epitome of ancient Pingyao dwellings. And you’re encouraged to have a visit of Qiao Family Compound or Wang Family Compound, both of which are masterpieces of this traditional civil architecture.