During the Nanjing International Marathon photography shooting, I took time to go to the Shishiqiao Village. Most people know that the earth buildings in Nanjing are famous all over the world and are also listed in the world cultural heritage. During the Spring Festival, I once drove to Yongding Tulou, and very much impressed. It is the second time I came for the tulous in this year.
Nanjing County is bordered by Yongding County, both of which are famous for their Tulou culture. The nearest village in Yongding County is Shiqiao Village in Shuyang Town, Nanjing County.
In Nanjing, many place names have the word "Keng (means pit)", such as Hekeng and Tianluokeng. Here, "keng" means a valley terrain. Shiqiao Village is also located in the valley with the San Tuan River flows through. It flows down the mountain and has nurtured generations of villagers.
Shiqiao Village is a small mountain village that was built within 600 years ago. It was once under the jurisdiction of many places. Until the founding of New China, Shiqiao Village was officially assigned to the management of Shuyang Township in Nanjing County. The village houses of Shiqiao Village were built on both sides of the San Tuan River.
The villagers in Shiqiao are basically surnamed "Zhang". It is said that their first ancestor was from Chaozhou, Guangdong. Today, there are nearly 1,000 villagers living in Shiqiao Village. The houses inhabited by the villagers are mainly earth buildings. There are many square and circular earth buildings of different sizes in Shiqiao Village. Among them, the “Shunyu Building” is the most famous one. It is also the largest circular earth building in Nanjing County. .
At the end of the Qing Dynasty, the peasant uprising of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, Shiqiao and its surrounding areas were the affected. At that time, the village was often looted and invaded by the insurgents with great losses. After the war, there was a man named Zhang Qigen in Shiqiao Village who vowed to build a big house that would protect all the villagers. In 1927, he built the large circular earth building with the money he earned from doing business in South Asia. In terms of land consumption, the circular earth building is more economical than the square or rectangular earth building. And it is also easier to defense from intrusion. Moreover, all the houses in the circular earth building are equally large and easy to distribute.
In fact, Zhang Qigen's funds was not enough to build such a huge circular earth building. This building was not completed until 1947. Shunyu Building has an outer diameter of 74 meters and is a double-circular earth building. It is divided into four floors and each floor has 72 rooms, totaling 369. At that time, each family could get four rooms from the first floor to the fourth floor in the same vertical plane. The kitchen is on the first floor, the barn on the second floor, and living room on the third and fourth floors. The size of all rooms is the same.
Not long ago, Shunyu Building was recognized as the “rounded earth building with the largest number of rooms in China” by the headquarters of the Guinness Shanghai World.
In the earth building in Nanjing, basically only one door is opened for access. This is also for security reason. However, there are two gates in Shunyu Building. The reason is that Shunyu Building is too big. Only one gate cannot meet the needs of villagers.
Shunyu Building is not one of the common tourist attraction. So, it is still quiet and basically has no commercial atmosphere. On the open space inside the building, the chickens and ducks scattered wander around. The old man sit in the yard chatting and drinking tea. The burning smell of firewood is still drifting in the yard. The villagers posted a notice on the door. Due to the lack of funds to repair the earth building, please donate RMB10 if to visit the building.
The other building like Changlan Building (长篮楼), Changyuan Building (长源楼), Zhende Building (振德楼) and Zhaode Building (昭德楼) were all built along the river combined with the steep slope of the hillside and called as Chair Building. The so-called chair budilng is built along the steep slopes of the river. Low in the front and high in the back with slightly higher on both sides makes the building looks like a chair. There are few farming land in Shiqiao Village. Building along the riverside slopes can reduce the occupation of fertile land and ingeniously avoid flooding. For more than 300 years, the Changyuan Building has undergone many times of earthquakes and floods, and the foundation has not changed.
In 2008, Shiqiao Village Tulou Group failed to catch up with the Tulou’s application for World Heritage Site, and missed the opportunity to rise to fame. Due to the lack of funds for repairs, many buildings in the village have become dangerous buildings.