Posted by: Lotus Light | September 28, 2010


Living on the loess plateau has its advantages.  Homes are easy to find – just dig into the cliff for a summer cool-winter warm retreat.  Shaanxi and a number of other provinces situated on this plateau have many cave dwellings (yaodong 窑洞).  Not just dwellings – temples have been built into cliff sides, or tunnelled into small hills.  Between 40-70 million people still use caves as homes or storage facilities.

Humans have adapted all types of conditions to finding a home – igloos, bark humpies, caves – you name it, we can find a way to create a home. Some of the cave dwellings are elaborate, with several rooms, arched doorways and windows. Many of the caves dwellings house families, and comfort is ensured by electricity, TV and stoves. Front gardens can be created from mud walls, giving a little more privacy.

Getting out into the country areas gives a much better understanding of the history of this area. Mao planned his revolution from a cave, caves protected local inhabitants during wars and uprisings.

Professor Liu JiaPing, from Xi’an Architecture and Technology university, is designing and building modern caves for modern residents. These caves use similar construction methods, fit into the village scape but are also designed to have better ventilation and a little more room for mod-cons. 

Now – I just need to find a good caveman!


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