Posts Tagged ‘Cave abode’

Yaodong Cave Dwellings in Xian

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011
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If time permits on your Xian trip, you may arrange a short side trip to Yaodongs, the cave dwellings still common in the middle and northwest of China. “Yaodong” literally means “Earth Caves”, one of the four types of the most distinctive Chinese trational dwellings including Tulou ( earth houses, common in Fujian Province), Yaodong ( Cave Abodes, on the loess in the Northwest China), Ganlan ( a wood or bamboo storied house common in Guizhou, Guangdong and Guangxi) and Yikeyin (Seal-like Compound in popular Yunnan Province).

Today let’s go closer to Yaodongs, the earth shelters common in the Loess Plateau in Henan, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Gansu and Qinghai. Yaodongs are generally carved out of a hillside, a vertical side of a loess hill. The cross section of a yaodong is built with two parts – a rectangle in the lower part and a semi-circle in the upper part.Yadongs are warm in winter and cool in summer.

Some of the yaodongs are visitable on your to or back from your must see highlight in Xian – Terra-cotta Army. If you are going to visit the earth houses, you are requested to drive along the old highway from the downtown Xian to Terra-Cotta Army or on your way back. The village that still use yaodongs are located along the highway by the side of some loess hills.

We stopped our car at the village, branched off the highway and walked into the village along the road by the shabby shop.

We branched off the highway and walked into the village along the road by the shabby shop.

Now we were inside the village with mud roads in the village center. But the fork roads leading to each house are cement roads and Most of the houses are made of bricks.

Now we are inside the village

On the way to the yaodongs, we met a lively village girl dressed in traditional clothing.

We first went to Mr. Gao’s family. His family has a big brick house linked to the yaodongs carved from a vertical hill.

His family has a big brick house linked to the yaodongs carved from a vertical hill.

Grandma Li said she still liked to stay inside a cave house since it was cool in summer and warm in wiinter. 

Grandma Li said she still liked to stay inside a cave house since it was cool in summer and warm in wiinter.

She and her husband also used the caves to raise chickens and other domestic animals.

She and her husband also used the caves to raise chickens and other domestic animals.

Later we also visited Mr. Zhang’s yaodongs behind his brick house below a hill.

Later we also visited Mr. Zhang’s yaodongs behind his brick house below a hill

His yaodong had a facade built with bricks with simple patterns carved on the surface. Two cave houses on the hill cliff.
Any questions, just drop a line.