碉楼 Diaolou "The watchtower"


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Asia » China » Guangdong
December 3rd 2015
Published: April 25th 2017
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For me these Diaolou or Watchtowers were a great discovery, to escape from the guangzhou hustle and bustle.

The diaolou are fortified multi-storey towers, that were built by returning Chinese immigrants from North America and other parts of southeast Asia.

The Diaolou were constructed at the beginning of the 20th century and there were more than 3,000 of these structures spread allover the place.

The diaolou were used as housing and as protection against the bandits and, during the Second World War, the Japanese.

Nowadays there are probably half of them that are still standing and I decided to visit the watchtowers of Kaiping which is situated 110 kilometers from guangzhou. once I got to Kaiping bus station I had to catch another local bus to head at the Zili Village which is about 25 kilometers north-east of the city center of Kaiping.

When I arrived at the village I saw that the place was, unfortunately, too much touristic and there were a few tour buses parked outside of the village site.

Said that, these diaolou look like medieval castles and the local villagers were cozy and friendly which I always appreciate it.

Some 200 hundred people are still living in the Zili village and their lifestyle is simple and honest.

Each cluster of these Diaolou has got its nice and clean courtyard with farm animals kept within the fence and the fruits left to dry outside on some wooden structures.

When I see these old traditions, that are still kept in some parts of the world, I am always joyful to witness that certain traditions are not forgotten and there is still a bit of diversity in this more and more materialist and globolized world.

It was really fun to explore these watchtowers and passing through the alleys and listening to the loud chatting of the family living inside.

I had also the chance to climb one of them and to have a better view, from the top of the tower, of the whole area and to admire the prestine scenary surrounding me.

It is really characteristic to see these towers that from massive size, slowly slowly, became very little losing themselves far away in the horizon.

For anyone visiting Guangzhou, this is for sure a great place to breath again some fresh air and regenerate yourself after having spent some days in that uninteresting and polluted city.

The relentless signs of tourism has reached this enchanting town as well and it is better to avoid the weekend visit in order to enjoy more the ambiance of this unique place.


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25th April 2017

Catching up...
Just catching up on your China blogs. It's lovely that you capture the quieter, calmer, and more traditional aspects of Chinese life...quite contrary to the popular view of what modern China is. I also like that your sepia and red toned photos match the tone of your blogs perfectly :)
26th April 2017

Catching up
Hello, thanks for that, yes I love to see differences in my travels otherwise it would be very boring.I think it is hard to discover true China,nowadays but there is still something left if you dig a bit somewhere.I appreciate your comment RenAndrew..
27th April 2017

Diaolou
I believe you have captured it perfectly with your words Marcos, "When I see these old traditions, that are still kept in some parts of the world, I am always joyful to witness that certain traditions are not forgotten and there is still a bit of diversity in this more and more materialist and globalized world."
27th April 2017

Diaolou
Hi Dave, I appreciate that you share my words! this makes me feel really happy. I tell you Dave that, next time I go back to Asia, I got inspired by a story written by a journalist called Viktor Zorza that, when he retired ,he went to live in a remote village in the Himalayas and he wrote an article for an UK newspaper telling every aspects of that village lifestyle to be known globally. I think this was a great idea and I would also like to lose myself somewhere in India where there are no signs of tourism and globalization and trying to write on my blog what I can see and understand about the life of those communities living in those hidden parts of the Himalayas and the world.. Thanks to appreciate my feelings Dave.

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