Kaiping Diaolou(Towers) story
The Diaolou (Towers) were distributed along Tanjiang River in Kaiping(130km southwest from Guangzhou and 220km northwest from Hong Kong). Most of them were built at the end of the Qing Dynasty and in the beginning of 20th century. At that time, a large number of Kaiping people rushed to USA and Australia be labours. They returned with fortune and build castle-like towers. Diaolou generally made of reinforced concretes. It is a special style of Chinese countryside architecture, which combines defence, accomodation together with art. The unique design of the building can also protect people from robbing and flooding.There are about 1,800 diaolou(Towers)remain in this area. Some of them are only three stories high and the tallest is 9 stories high which is called the Ruishui Diaolou. It was built in 1921. The Diaolou is the combination of Chinese and western style architectures like ancient Greek, Rome and Byzantine.Kaiping diaolou reflects the fusion of Chinese and Western styles in architecture. They are also the witness of the civilization history in China.Regarded as ‘Loire Valley of the East’, Kaiping Diaolou was awarded as a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2007.4 Must see Diaolou(Towers) Zili Village: Build from 1917, which contains 15 Diaolou(Towers) from 3 to 6 stories, surrounded by the beautiful farmlands. Chikan old town: An ancient town in the center of Diaolou(Towers) area with over 350 years. Strolling on the town’s ancient streets, tourists will feel themselves being traveled back to the past. Li Garden(Li Yuan): Constructed in 1936 by a Chinese emigrant to the United States, it demonstrates the fusion of Western and Chinese designs, and the gardens flourish with a variety of flowers. Ruishi Diaolou(Tower): Constructed in 1921, Ruishi Diaolou has nine floors and is the highest diaolou at Kaiping. It features a Byzantine style roof and a Roman dome. Every floor has its different architraves and decorations. Regarded as the‘No 1’ tower in this area.
Other famous Diaolou(Towers) South Towers(Nanlou): Build in 1912, with 7 stories concrete structures. During the World War II, it serves as the most important defensive tower in the area. Today, we can still find bullet holes on it. Yinglonglou: It’s the oldest Diaolou(Tower) in the area. Build in the 1522, it comprises 3 stories of bricks and timber structure. Majianglong village:There are 13 diaolou(Towers) in Majianglong village, surrounding by farmlands. These diaolou are well preserved and in special sculpts, melting in harmony with the natural environment. Xielou(Leaning Tower): Build in 1903, with 7 stories, is a miracle in architectural history. Currently the angle of slant is 15 degrees, 2.5 meters from the vertical, even more than the famous Tower of Pisa, Italy. The Xieliu encountered several earthquakes and strong typhoon is still safe. Fengcaitang: A memorial hall built to honor the politician Yu Jing in Song Dynasty. The 4 stories building, combines ancient Athens style terrace and European castle style roof.