The Hakka Walled Villages of Southern China
The Hakka walled villages were named after the people who built them – the Hakka. These people emigrated from the northern parts of China into the country’s southern areas, but they eventually came into conflict with their neighbors during the 17th century. In order to protect themselves, the Hakka came up with an ingenious way of building their settlements that involved walled circular villages.
These villages had only a single entrance and featured no windows on their first level, which made them very difficult capture by an attacking force. Moreover, the walls of these establishments were about 3 feet thick and were made using stone, brick or rammed earth. The building complex itself could be as high as 4 stories, and it featured battlements as well as turrets that would be of great use in the event of an enemy attack.
The living arrangements found within were designed to be used commonly by the villagers, and they featured a round shape as well as different compartments for the armory, temple, living quarters or storage facilities. These houses were sometimes massive in size, some covering areas of up 9.8 acres. This highly efficient way of fortifying their homes allowed the Hakka to withstand sieges, since they could easily stockpile grains and water before shutting off the gates and waiting out the danger.
Numerous Hakka communities survived to this day, and they can be found mostly in eastern Guangdong, in the Xing-Mei area of China. Moreover, the southern area of the Jiangxi province includes approximately 500 Hakka villages, out of which 370 can be found in Longnan County.