KaiPing DiaoLou and Villages

KaiPing DiaoLou and Villages -- World Heritage Site

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Visit: Zili Village -- The Historic Town of ChiKan

The diaolou of Kaiping are fortified multi-storey towers, built by returning Chinese immigrants from America, Canada, Hong Kong and Malaysia. They display a fusion of Chinese and Western decorative forms. The towers were constructed in the 1920s and 1930s, when there were more than 3,000 of these structure.


These buildings take three forms: communal towers built by several families and used as temporary refuge, residential towers built by individual rich families and used as fortified residences, and watch towers. Built of stone, pise, brick or concrete, these buildings represent a complex and confident fusion between Chinese and Western architectural styles. Retaining a harmonious relationship with the surrounding landscape, the Diaolou testify to the final flowering of local building traditions that started in the Ming period in response to local banditry.



Chikan is ancient town established during the Qing Dynasty under the governance of Emperor Shunzhi . with 350 years of history chikan evolved from a country market place into the business competition between the Guan and situ families . Memorial family libraries were built by each family and both libraries became landmarks of chikan.


The overseas Chinese incorporated elements of Western architecture into their new homes . The buildings were three-story structures with a store front on the street level and two residential upper floors. Although the buildings did not have much decorative details,each building was built with a balcony facing the Tanjiang River which flowed along and divided the town . the balcony called Qilou in local dialect became a prominent architectural feature in chikan .

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The diaolou of Kaiping are fortified multi-storey towers, built by returning Chinese immigrants. They display a fusion of Chinese and Western decorative forms. The towers were constructed in the 1920s and 1930s, when there were more than 3,000 of these structure.

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