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Special Series: Kaiping Diaolou Towers

Included in the UNESCO World Heritage List on June 27, 2007, the Kaiping Diaolou are fortified multi-storey towers, generally made of reinforced concrete. These towers are located mainly in Kaiping County, Guangdong province, China. Kaiping together with its neighbouring counties of Enping, Taishan and Xinhui are collectively known as the "Four counties" The first towers were built during the early Qing Dynasty, reaching a peak in the 1920s and 1930s, when there were more than three thousand of these structures. Today, approximately 1,833 diaolou remain standing in Kaiping, and approximately 500 in Taishan. Although the diaolou served mainly as protection against forays by bandits, a few of them also served as living quarters.

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Kaiping Diaolou Towers Part 1

Kaiping Diaolou and Villages, the unique residential and defensive buildings in Guangdong´s Kaiping, were inscribed on UNESCO´s World Heritage List...

Kaiping Diaolou Towers Part 2

Kaiping Diaolou and Villages feature the Diaolou, multi-storied defensive village houses in Kaiping, Guangdong Province, which display a complex fusion of Chinese and Western structural and decorative forms...

Kaiping Diaolou Towers Part 3

Kaiping Diaolou Tower reflect the significant role of émigré Kaiping people in the development of several countries in South Asia, Australasia, and North America, during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and the close links between overseas Kaiping and their ancestral homes.

Kaiping Diaolou Towers Part 4

The Kaiping Diaolou mainly served the purposes of defence and dwelling. Kaiping Diaolou is divided into three types: Night Watchtowers, Communal Towers and Dwelling Towers.

Kaiping Diaolou Towers Part 5

The upper part of the Diaolous is built in the form of colonnade, terrace, receding terrace, over-hanging, castle and mixture of different styles. The appearance of a Diaolous reflects the economic strength of the owner, aesthetic taste and the impact of external culture.

Kaiping Diaolou Towers Part 6

The first towers were built during the early Qing Dynasty, reaching a peak in the 1920s and 1930s, when there were more than three thousand of these structures. Today, approximately 1,833 diaolou remain standing in Kaiping, and approximately 500 in Taishan.

Kaiping Diaolou Towers Part 7

Kaiping has traditionally been a region of major emigration abroad, and a melting pot of ideas and trends brought back by overseas Chinese. As a result, many diaolou incorporate architectural features from China and from the West.

Kaiping Diaolou Towers Part 8

Built of stone, compressed earth, brick or concrete, these buildings represent a complex and confident fusion between Chinese and Western architectural styles.

Kaiping Diaolou Towers: Part 9

The Kaiping Diaolou Towers represent the qualities of the overseas Chinese and embody the traditional environmental awareness and fengshui concepts of the people of Jiangmen region and are an ideal combination of planning and construction with the natural environment and cultural ideas.

Kaiping Diaolou Towers Part 10

The origin and development of the Kaiping Diaolou derives mainly from environment, history, and cultural development of the local area. Security of the community played an important role in the evolution.