Cave Dwellings (Yaodong)
Cave dwellings in Chinese are called Yaodong, which means arched tunnels. Cave dwellings stretch across six provinces in north China and a large number of people still live in such ancient and traditional" architecture". People in villages on the Loess plateau in Luoyang and Sanmenxia, a small city on the Luoyang-Xian railway, have been living in cave dwelling since ancient times. The thick Loess in the area makes it's very easy for cave-digging. In ancient times, the the lack of tools prevented the people from buildingabove the ground so they dug caves for themselves. The tradition of digging and living in caves was passed passed down over generations.
Cave dwellings around a courtyard are very interesting scenes. The locals first select a good place, then dig a around 100 square meters pit. They then dig caves on the four sides and a tunnel leading to the surface on one of the sides A well is dug at the center of the pit. The Cave dwellings are cool in summer and warm in winter.
It is not clear how many people live in caves these days but there is a large number because this unique residential architecture is widely used and scattered everywhere outside the cities in this region.