Kaiping Diaolou and Villages
Kaiping Diaolou and Villages, located in Kaiping City, Guangdong Province, were approved as a national cultural heritage site in 2001, and were listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in June 2007. The Diaolou are fortified multi-storied tower-like structures that exquisitely integrate the Western architectural style with the Chinese architectural style.
The earliest preserved villages were constructed in the 14th century, and the diaolous were initially built in the 16th century. Originally, it was built to protect the residents against intrusion and forays by local bandits. In the 1920s and 1930s, the Diaolou reached its peak, with over 3,000 diaolous scattered around the whole Kaiping area. About 1,830 well-preserved diaolous remain.
Kaiping has long been a major hometown for immigrants, many of whom brought the ideas and architectural styles of the West to the city. The diaolous primarily use the Romanesque, Islamic, Baroque and Rococo architectural styles and decorative forms. They were mainly made of reinforced concrete, which was rare in Asia in the 1920s and 1930s. On the exterior, the buildings are typically western; but inside everything, from the frescos to the utensils, are of traditional Chinese style.
The local Diaolou is made of stone, compressed earth, bricks or concrete. Despite the distinct differences in building materials, architectural styles and decorative forms, all of the diaolous share some common features. The windows and doors are very narrow and small. Watchtowers on the top floor, with embrasures in the four cardinal directions, provide excellent views of the surrounding area.
Kaiping Diaolou and Villages is also an example of the incorporation of the natural and cultural landscape. In spite of importing the western architectural style, the buildings still maintain a harmonious relationship with the surrounding rural landscape. The unique scene is spectacular.
Many diaolou clusters are scattered there, including Chikanzhen Yinglong Lou, Jinjiangli Diaolou Cluster, the Cluster in Zilicun and Fangshi Denglou.
Chikanzhen Yinglong Lou is the oldest preserved diaolou in that area. It was built during the reign of Emperor Wangli of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). It is located in Sanmenli Village, Chikanzhen Township, about six kilometers (about four miles) east of downtown Kaiping. 'Yinglong' in Chinese means 'welcoming or greeting dragons'. In the Chinese culture, the dragon is the symbol of auspiciousness. The name 'Yinglong' implies that the construction of the watchtower will bring people safety, fortune and happiness. Yinglong Lou retains the primitive model of watchtower. It is a traditional square structure and is not influenced by western architectural styles.
Zilicun Diaolou Cluster consists of nine diaolous. It is located in Zilicun Village, Tan Gkou Township of the city. Its residential houses are compatible with the surroundings.
The most exquisite diaolous there are located in the Jinjiangli Diaolou Cluster. It is situated at Jinjiangli Village, Xianggang Township, northeast of city downtown area. Behind the village stand Ruishi Diaolou, Shengfeng Lou, and Jinjiang Lou. Ruishi Diaolou is the tallest one in Kaiping.
The diaolou, a unique structure, not only symbolizes the fusion of Chinese and Western architectural styles, but also embodies the assimilation of two different cultures.
|Fees for Attractions:||Zilicun Diaolou Cluster: CNY 80|
|Majianglong Diaolou Cluster: CNY 50|
|Chikan Movie and Television City: CNY 30|
|Through Ticket: Valid within 2 days and only one visit allowed for each attraction||CNY 180 including 6 attractions: Zilicun, Majianglong and Jinjiangli Diaolou Clusters, Liyuan Garden, Chikan Movie ad Television City, The South Diaolou)|
|Preferential Policies:||Half price for children between 1.2 - 1.5m, the elderly people between 65 and 69; |
Free for children under 1.2m, the elderly people over 70
|Opening Hours:||8:30 - 17:30|
|Transportaion:||Take Tangkou-Magang Special Line from Kaiping downtown area and get off at Zilicun.|
Recommended Guided Tour:
Guangzhou Day Tour to Kaiping Diaolou from $180
The bus schedules are 10:50, 14:55, 16:25 and 19:50. The ticket fare is CNY 110 per person.
Can you please advise about Bus connection from Zhongshan to Kaiping ?
To Jiangmen: Take a direct coach from Zhongshan Xiaolan Bus Station. They depart from 07:15 to 19:10.