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UNESCO World Heritage Site
Kaiping Diaolou and Villages
Name as inscribed on the World Heritage List
Kaiping September 2007.jpg
Ruishi Diaolou 瑞石樓
Location Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg China
Type Cultural
Criteria ii, iii, iv
Reference 1112
UNESCO region Asia-Pacific
Inscription history
Inscription 2007 (31st Session)

Diaolous (simplified Chinese: 碉楼; traditional Chinese: 碉樓) are fortified multi-storey watchtowers, generally made of reinforced concrete. These towers are located mainly in Kaiping County, Guangdong province, China.

The first towers were built during the Ming 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. They can also occasionally be found in numerous other areas of Guangdong, such as Shenzhen and Dongguan.[1] Although the diaolou served mainly as protection against forays by bandits, a few of them also served as living quarters.

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.

In 2007, UNESCO named the Kaiping Diaolou and Villages (Chinese:开平碉楼与村落) a World Heritage Site. UNESCO wrote, "...the Diaolou ... display a complex and flamboyant fusion of Chinese and Western structural and decorative forms. They 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. The property inscribed here consists of four groups of Diaolou, totaling some 1,800 tower houses in their village settings."



Ruishi Diaolou, located behind Jinjiangli Village, Xianggang Township. Constructed in 1921, it has nine floors and is the highest diaolou at Kaiping. It features a Byzantine style roof and a Roman dome.

Majianglong Diaolou cluster spread across the villages of Nan'an Li, Hedong Li, Qinglin Li, Longjiang Li and Yong'an Li.

Li Garden, in Beiyi Xiang, was constructed in 1936 by Mr. Xie Weili, a Chinese emigrant to the United States.

Fangshi Denglou - Built in 1920 after contributions from villagers, this denglou is five stories high. It is referred to as the "Light Tower" because it had an enormous searchlight with a brightness much like that of the beam of a lighthouse.

Bianchouzhu Lou (The Leaning Tower), located in Nanxing Village was constructed in 1903. It has seven floors and overlooks a pond.

Tianlu Lou (Tower of Heavenly Success), located in Yong'an li, was built in 1922 and is seven storeys tall plus a roof top floor.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "凤岗碉楼记". Retrieved 9 May 2016. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 22°17′10″N 112°33′58″E / 22.286°N 112.566°E / 22.286; 112.566