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Cave Dwellings

The cave dwelling (Yaodong in Chinese) in Xian, Shaanxi province, is laid out in rows one atop the other, looking like buildings of multiple floors in the distance. It is a sort of distinctive cave house dug into the mountains for dwelling of Many laboring people on the Loess Plateau in northwest China.

These cave dwellings were either tunneled into the face of a stupendous cliff or scooped into a cross-section of the Loess Plateau. A cave house is usually six meters deep and four meters wide. Stone slabs are piled up to form a semicircle at the entrance, which is decorated with exquisite latticed windows in a variety of styles. There are also arched cave dwellings of masonry that are covered with earth, which is definitely a variation between stone and loess structures. The types of the cave dwelling can be divided into the earth cave dwelling, brick cave dwelling, stone cave dwelling, earth-based cave dwelling, Liubazi cave dwelling and the interface cave dwelling. For centuries, they have been regarded as the symbol of the peasants in the northern part of Shaanxi Province.

The beauty about the cave dwellings is that they help maintain local topography and save on farmlands by making use of space that would have been otherwise left unused. They are warm in winter and cool in summer. The temperature inside is usually 13 degrees Celsius higher than in the open in winter and 10 degrees Celsius lower in summer. Moreover, the cave dwellings are sequestered in peace and quiet as they are shut from the noise of the outside world. There are drawbacks as well. For example, daylighting is poor, humidity high in summer, and ventilation leaves much to be desired.

Statistics show that 40 million people live in cave dwellings that are scattered over an area of 600,000 square kilometers in the middle and upper reaches of the Yellow River. Cave house is praised an outstanding folk architectural art of the northwest China. In recent years curious visitors and are arriving in droves to study the loess cave dwellings. Please book a Xian tour to see the unique Shaanxi Cave Dwellings!

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