The Watch Towers of Kaiping. Departing 18 July, 2011. 3 days

The Watch Towers of Kaiping. Departing 18 July, 2011.  3 days發布自Concorde Travel

出自: Concorde Travel  2011/06/09
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Concorde Travel proudly present two group departure tours to a fantastic area in China called Kaiping this and . Mark your calendar! The area is full of exotic buildings that truly embrace the idea of when East meets West. Diaolous(watch towers) were built in great number during 1920′s and 1930′s, but the earliest built and still standing dated as far back as in the Ming Dynasty, about 460 years ago. Our tours will be led by a scholar, Ms Selia Tan, the lady who was behind the sites gaining accreditation as a UNESCO world heritage site in 2007. To join the tour, or simply ask for extra information, send to us, we’ll reply promptly.

More info on our website: www.concorde-travel.com


Kaiping has become increasingly famous because of its "diaolou", fortified multi-storey towers, which were constructed in the Kaiping area from the early Qing Dynasty (1644 to 1912), reaching a peak in the 1920's and 1930's, when there were more than 3,000 of these structures. Today, approximately 1,800 "diaolou"  are still standing.

 

The "diaolou" served two purposes, housing and protection against forays by bandits. The Kaiping "diaolou" and villages were added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2007.

 

This short escorted tour makes a wonderful short holiday from Hong Kong.

 

As the places of interest are widely scattered and because there is virtually no public transport available and little spoken English, by far the best way to get around is with a car/coach and driver, in the company of a guide who can lead you and tell you something about the sites.

  

This little known region of China has a number of spectacular buildings but unfortunately not very much seems to have been documented regarding their turbulent history. Much of the appeal of a day or so in his part of China rests with the typical quiet and natural rural scenery.

  

The peaceful life that the people who built these amazing structures were looking for, unfortunately never eventuated. Impoverished local people, in their desperate bid for survival, were reduced to banditry and looting.

  

The oldest existing “diaolou” is a World Cultural Heritage Site and it stands in Sanmenli Village. It was built during the Ming Dynasty, approximately 460 years ago.

  

When the 19 century arrived, many of Kaiping’s residents moved to Hong Kong in search of a better life and many others moved to North America. Records indicate that between 1925 and 1938 there were 140,000 Chinese in America, most of whom came from this region of Guangdong Province.

  

Many of these individuals returned home with their hard-earned fortunes and built these extraordinary structures which were both homes and watchtowers. The unusual appearance of the buildings can be attributed to the melding of traditional Chinese architecture, with both contemporary and ancient Western architectural styles.

  

As the wealthy returned to China, others who were desperate to survive, preyed upon them and an increasing number of these fortified buildings appeared. Some of the watchtowers functioned purely as fortified structures where the village residents could store their belongings and seek protection in the event of attack by bandits, whilst others were privately owned watchtowers that only protected the inhabitants. These were often lavishly decorated with colonnaded balconies, high above the ground, where the occupants could catch the afternoon breezes.

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