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I Finally Found Longnans Old Quarter

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya,

When I travel to a new city in China the first thing I do is walk and walk and walk. My destination is always to find where the city first began and I finally found it.

In the deep south of Jiangxi lies the rarely visited Hakka country, a region of lush hills peppered with fortified villages, unusually built in rectangular shapes, unlike the mostly circular Tuloi (roundhouse) of Fujian Province. Although there are estimates of some three hundred and seventy such dwellings in Longnan Country alone, most are now left to decay so I will be visiting the two main areas over the next several days, or will be trying to as the typhoon on the east coast is really REALLY causing problems with our weather.

So to start my latest Hakka Adventure I've spent the last two days walking in search of where the city of Longnan actually began and today I finally found those arch ways and the old quarter within.

Why did I choose my next week or two's destination to be the Longnan Area?

After visiting Yongding County in Fujian Province many years ago I have had a deep fascination for the Hakka People and their history. Their forced 'removal' from the north to the south of China and upon arrival finding that all the good land was already taken by the present peoples and then the continuation of trying to be removed.

So Who Are The Hakka People

The Hakka, or Kejia in Mandarin, are a subgroup of the Han Chinese people who live primarily in the provinces of Guangdong, Jiangxi and Fujian. Their ancestors settled there centuries ago, often to escape wars, natural disasters and severe persecution in their homelands in the north and central parts of China.

The name Hakka means 'guests'. Today Hakka communities are scattered all over the world.

The Hakka culture is especially famous for the unique architecture of its ancient residential buildings. The homes in Longnan, called 'weiwu' or 'wei' are usually more rectangular in shape than similar structures in Yongding. There are more than five hundred Hakka weiwu scattered across southern Jiangxi, with some three hundred and seventy found in Longnan so the country is aptly known as 'the land of Hakka weiwu'.

First built during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), the fortified houses in Longnan were designed to allow residents to defend themselves in the event of wars and frequent clan conflicts so the houses have several impressive and innovative defensive features such as the exterior walls being five meters underground to prevent attacks from subterranean enemy tunnel diggers, the dwellings have thick wooden gates, often with iron sheeting and other innovations such as the Yanyi Wei that has for its time an ingenious water funnel on top to extinguish flames set by enemy arsonists.

Most also have defensive features such as watchtowers that are built at all four corners of the outer walls. Wells were located both within the courtyard and outside. The inner wells were used only at times when the house was besieged.

While the tulou in Yongding were most often built from packed earth, the weiwu in Longnan were constructed from more durable materials. The bases of the outer walls were made from sandstone and granite and the walls themselves were built from gray bricks and stones. In the center of each weiwu complex sits an ancestral hall and an open space for common use while the residential spaces are located one above another often belonged to a single family and linked by vertical passageways.

Beers N Noodles toya...shane ________________________________________________________________________

The Soundtrack to this entry was by Living Colour The album was 'The Japanese Release of Biscuits' One of my all time favourite EP's/Albums. It has some great covers; along with some great live Living Colour songs! ________________________________________________________________________

Longnan City Walk

Longnan City Walk


Longnan City Walk

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Longnan City Walk

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Longnan City Walk

Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China

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