Carved from the rocks: The series of amazing subterranean dwellings amount to nearly 10,000 homes in Sanmenxia, Henan, central China
Remarkable aerial pictures shed light on China’s’invisible village’ where local residents maintain 4,000-year-old life style live in subterranean caves
- Nearly 10,000 homesteads carved into loess silt land pits as part of ancient living tradition in Henan province, China
- These particular homes have had six generations living under their roofs but the tradition dates back 4,000 years
- The remarkable site is under conservation but is to be opened up to the public to visit around May Day next month
Open: The government of Henan has announced that it is protecting the sites and plans to turn them into attractions for curious visitors.
A centuries-old tradition in central China has seen indigenous people living underground in ancient ‘pit yards’ which will soon be open to the public. The series of subterranean dwellings amount to nearly 10,000 homes in Sanmenxia city, Henan, according to a report by People’s Daily Online. The courtyard homes, called Yaodongs, have had six generations living under their roofs for over 200 years and are currently under conservation.Protected: The homesteads have had six generations of residents living under their roofs for over 200 years and are under conservation.
Amazing: The tradition in China is thought to date back over 4,000 years and have housed thousands of residents in the huge loess hills.
However the tradition itself in China is thought to date back over 4,000 years and have housed thousands of residents in the hills. The origins of Yaodongs can be traced back to Bronze Age, when people lived in dwellings within deep pits and they became widely popular during the Ming and Qing dynasties. Today, the homesteads are much more modernised and many of them are equipped with electricity and other utilities. The local government of Henan has announced that it is protecting the sites and plans to turn them into tourist attractions for curious visitors.Amazing birds-eye view images of the site have been published online, showing the remarkable prism-like homesteads in all their glory, carved out of the sediment of huge loess land pits.
The specific size and shape of the Yaodong varies depending on its location and over 30 million Chinese people live in such dwellings to this day. The structures also boast the features including earthquake-resistance, sound-proofing and are even energy-efficient. More importantly, there are wide wells that prevent floods and storms to ensure safety.
Fortified: The immaculately designed houses are strengthened with natural materials on their walls, to keep them from collapsing in.
Natural marvel: The loess hills in which they were built were created over thousands of years by winds depositing silt earth in mounds.
A true sight to behold: The amazing homes create a strange and beautiful mosaic on the ground when viewed from the skies above
Remarkable: An average pit yard home in the complex has a depth of 20-23 ft and a length of 33-39ft and is supported on all four sides
Stunning: The attraction will open to the public around May Day next month, and has already been visited by a handful of lucky tourists
Yaodongs also have other functions. The arched roof of the caves could hold plants; the surrounding land could be used for farming if the house were built in the slopes. According to previous reports, a basic one-bedroom cave without plumbing is available to rent for about $30 (£21) per month, while a full house with three bedrooms plus a bathroom might sell for around $45,700 (£32,000).
The immaculately designed cave houses are strengthened with natural materials on the pit walls, with a depth of 20-23 ft and length of 33-39ft. The loess hills in which they were built were created over thousands of years by strong winds depositing silt earth in huge mounds. The attraction will open to the public around May Day next month, and has already been visited by a handful of lucky tourists.