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Eryilou of Hua'an - a tulou building telling you a different custom

Updated: 2009-06-24
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Hua'an County, located in northeastern Zhangzhou, is about 176 kilometres away from Xiamen. With an area of 1315 square kilometres, Hua'an is rich in natural beauty and cultural heritages. As for natural beauty, there is Jiulong River, Hua'an Jade, and many others, anf for cultural heritage, there are the Tulou's.
 
There are more than 68 tulou buildings in Hua'an, and the most famous one is Eryilou, which enjoys a reputation of The King of the Round Tulou.
 
Eryilou of Hua'an, the King of Round Tulou
 
Eryilou is situated in Dadi Village, Xiandu Town. It was built by Jiang Shixiong in 1770, during the Qing Dynasty. It consists of a 4 story outer ring and a one story inner ring. The outer ring is 71 meter's in diameter, with 48 rooms on each level.
 
Eryilou has no circular corridor at the front of each upper level, instead it has a back corridor adjacent to the wall. The outer ring rooms are partitioned vertically into separate households andf each household partition has its own set of staircases not shared by other families. Some partition's have a frontal width of 3 rooms while others have a width of 4 rooms. The partition of the inner ring is attached to the partition of the main ring via a covered verandah as an antechamber. This design can unite all the families and is easy for the resident to escape or defense in case of danger. At the corridor, there are light-holders and repairing ladders which are designed for repairing the house.
 
On the outside wall of Eryilou, there are holes near the gates called Sound Transmission Holes. The designer built it to bring more convenience and safety for the resident because people who want to enter can speak through the hole, and the sound can be easily transferred to the people inside. Also, the people should say the right word for entering.
 
In Eryilou, there is an underground passage. According to the instruction of the local residents, this passage is built to transfer the goods in case of war.
 
The frescos and couplets showing the rich cultural and artistic treasure of Eryilou
 
Moreover, Eryilou is rich in cultural and artistic treasure. Inside the building, there are 226 frescos, 228 color paintings, 349 wood carvings of various shapes, and 163 couplets, which makes Eryilou the most outstanding among all tulou buildings. Also, there are old newspapers on the wall of some rooms such as the New York Times in 1931, the New York Evening Post in 1932, and many others. 
 
Eryilou - more another custom and culture
 
Nowadays, most people may think tulou's are the residence especially for the Hakka people. However, compared with tulou's in Nanjing or Yongding, the resident's in Hua'an tulou are Minnanese. They speak Minnan dialect instead of Hakka and they are all the later generations of the Qiang family, warmhearted and hospitable. Therefore, you can experience a different tulou custom such as a different tradition and different food taste.
 
The resident in Eryilou are Minnanese, and one of their favorite drink is Tieguanyin Tea
 

1) Tradition in Hua'an Tulou:

Nowadays, Hua'an tulou residents maintain most of their traditional festival and customs, most of which are similar with the ones of Minnanese. On Dragon Boat Festival, they drink realgar wine, eat rice dumplings, and put calamus in front of their rooms. On mid-autumn Day, they do moon appreciation, eat moon cakes and shaddock. In the sowing seeds time of spring, they hold a sacrifce ceremony to pray for the harvest. Families are all busy with preparing special food for the ceremony such as pork, fruit, and local rice cakes.

2) Food and Drink in Hua'an Tulou:

The Tulou people in Hua'an eat rice as their main food and Tieguanyin tea is one of their favorite drinks. If they have guests, the residents will likely make a cup of tea for their guests, which is one of their customs. Also, farmhouse dishes are one of their specials such as local tofu, bamboo shoot, and wild vegetables. Among all the dishes, authentic chicken soup is a must taste. This flavor one will never forget.
 
Hot to get there:
 
Click map to enlarge
 
1) Self-driving: Go Xiazhang Highway - when reach Zhangzhou, turn to Zhanglong Highway - then go to Eryilou through S208 provincial highway and X344 County Road.
 
2) Use a travel agent:

Renting a van packaged with driver is the next best alternative. Call Apple Travel to organize a group tour. If you’ve a small group, The ideal number in the group is 5 or 6.
 
For more information or to book a tour, please contact Apple Travel
 
Apple Travel Xiamen Office (Main Office)
Address: Shop 18-20,Guanren Rd (behind the Marco Polo Hotel) Xiamen, Fujian Province, China 361006
Reservations: (86-592)-5053122
Email: apple@appletravel.cn
Website: www.appletravel.cn
Office Hours: Mon. - Fri. 09:00-18:00
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