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Shaanxi Farmers' Cave Houses

 

Cave Houses

As a type of dwelling existing only in China, the farmers cave-houses in Shaanxi Province, especially in Northern Shaanxi, are unique travel destinations and has attracted a number of tourists. In some areas of Shaanxi Province such as the Yan'an area, farmers' caves abound.

Xian Farmers' Cave HousesFarmers' cave-houses are generally built into a mountain. In Shaanxi Province there are two basic types, the stone cave and the earth cave. The stone cave is cut into the side of a precipitous cliff, while an earth cave is cut into the yellow earth layers. Caves rise layer upon layer looking like stories of a building.

A farmer's cave is usually 5-7 meters (16.4-23.0 feet) long, 3-4 meters (9.8-13.1 feet) wide and 2-5 meters (6.6-16.4 feet) high. The cave has a semicircular door of fieldstone and windows with exquisite sash bars set like fan ribs, the most beautiful and dainty parts of the cave. Vaulted windows have beautiful designs in wooden sash bars decorated with folk paper cuttings.

A farmer's cave has several unique characteristics: First, it is quiet; also it is warm in winter and cool in summer. Its creation did not damage the environment or usurp farmland.

As early as the Neolithic Age, using wooden framework, grass, and soil, clans inhabiting the middle reaches of the Yellow River built simple shallow caves in natural earth holes in the mountains. Gradually, living in caves was a practice handed down to descendants. Today, some farmers' caves have progressed to serving as hotels featuring modern facilities. Tourists now can enjoy the advantages of both a farmer's cave and hotel.

A proper trip to Shaanxi Province should include a visit to the fascinating farmers' cave-houses.

Shaanxi Farmers' Cave-Houses

 

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