The cave dwelling

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The history of cave dwelling, a traditional dwelling format of the inhabitants on the loess plateau in northwest China, can be dated back to four thousand years ago. It is widely seen in some regions of the loess plateau, such as Shanxi, Henan, Hebei, Inner Mongolia and Gansu.



The loess layer of the Shaan-Gan-Ning area is very thick. In some areas, it can reach dozens of kilometers. Taking advantage of the favorable terrain of the plateau, the Chinese people construct their dwellings by making holes, creating the cave dwelling buildings, known as “green architectures”. The general patterns of cave dwellings include hillside cave dwellings, sinking cave dwellings, and independent cave dwellings, among which the most common is the hillside dwelling.


The most prominent feature of the cave dwelling is that it is warm in winter and cool in summer. The traditional dome-shaped cave dwelling seems pretty common from the outside, however, the circular shape makes it light and vivid against the background of the monotonous loess. This natural-based form shows the traditional ideology of the round heaven and square earth. More importantly, the high arch, along with the high window, makes the sun shine deeper inside the cave dwelling in winter. The arched interior space increases the vertical space, making people feel spacious and comfortable.



The cave dwelling is usually 3 meters high and 3 meters wide, and the maximum depth is up to 20 meters. The hole always faces the sun to facilitate the sun exposure. The easiest form is the loess cave dwelling, which is completed by simply digging. Strengthening the loess cave dwelling with stones or bricks, and then forms the stone cave dwellings or brick cave dwellings. The art of cave dwelling attracts more and more domestic and even foreign visitors to visit and stay. The tourist attractions on the theme of the cave dwelling have been developed to display the charm of cave dwellings.