Kaiping & Gothic Watchtowers

  • Kaiping is a county level city under the jurisdiction of Jiangmen set up in 1993 in Guangdong Province southern China, with a population of about 700,000 and area of 1660 km.sq. where the local dialect is Taishan. Kaiping is located 140 km from Guangzhou in the southwestern part of the earl River Delta and consists of three port cities: Changsha, Xinchang and Dihai. It is 165 km. from the Macau boarder and the rapidly expanding adjoining city of Zhuhai. Kaiping is well known for its overseas Chinese communities a result of major migration in the late 19th century. Large numbers of early Chinese American and Canadian communities had people who originated from Kaiping and its neighboring  counties of Taishan, Enping and Xinhui as a result there are more Kaiping people living abroad than in Kaiping.
    Kaiping traditionally has been a region of major emigration abroad, and a melting pot of ideas and trends brought back from overseas by Chinese who made good. as a consequence, several of the Chinese Gothic watchtowers  incorporate  architectural features from both China and the West. These fortified multi story towers-Diaolou were constructed  in the Kaiping area from the early Qing Dynasty peaking in the 1920'-30's where there were more than 3000 of these structures. Today, approximately 1,800 are still standing today dominating the surrounding villages. The Diaolou served two purpose:housing and protecting against forays by bandits. The Kaiping Diaolou and villages were added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2007. The most notable  Diaolou examples include  Ruishi, Li Garden,and Fangshi Denglou.