Landmark for the Gyalrong Tibetans

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Left:Tibetan women and children enjoy their time in the Yangrong Tibetan village of Aba.Right:Motsai, a Tibetan woman in her 60s, is weaving cloth at her residence in Serku village in Aba. Li Yang/ China Daily

Serku Tibetan village is known as the first guard post of the Gyalrong Tibetans, who live along the eastern of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.

The village was founded in the Tang Dynasty (AD618-907) and its structures were built with nothing but rock, mud and wood.

Like Taoping Qiang village, Serku is also situated on a mountain slope above a river.

The Tibetans learned to build Qiangdiao, and construct underground water networks from the Qiang people.

The tunnel of the water network is wide enough for an adult to walk through so as to make it easy to dredge and repair. Many of the water network are still functional, 1,000 years after they were built.

The villagers use water from the mountain springs to treat common ailments, as the water is believed to have medicinal properties as it flows through land which has herbs growing on it.

Though the villagers are all Buddhists, they also worship the white-stone god, and pile quartz stones at important spots in and around their houses.

Most buildings in Serku have three floors. While the ground floor is for cattle, the middle floor is for family members and the top floor is reserved for praying.

Typically, the windows on the ground floor are small from the outside, but wide on the inside to protect the residents from strong winds.

As for grain storage, instead of creating facilities underground as is the case with many remote residences and fortifications, Serku's architects placed the wooden granaries near the village gates.

Locals say that this was done to prevent any enemy from setting fire to the village, as grains is a valuable asset in mountainous regions, particularly during long winters.

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