Kaiping Diaolou and Villages

kaiping diaolou and villageLocated mainly in Kaiping County, Guangdong province, Kaiping Diaolou and Villages feature the Diaolou, multi-storeyed defensive village houses, displaying a complex and flamboyant fusion of Chinese and Western structural and decorative forms. Kaiping Diaolou and Villages, consisting of four groups of Diaolou, totaling some 1,800 tower houses in their village settings, was listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2007. Immigrants of Kaiping people played significant role in the development of several countries in South Asia, Australasia and North America. Kaiping Diaolou and Villages is the best reflection of it and served as close links between overseas Kaiping and their ancestral homes.

The nominated Diaolou represent the final flourishing of the local tradition in the Kaiping area since Ming times: bulid defensive towers in response to local banditry. The Kaiping Diaolou was built by conspicuous wealth of the retuning Chinese who contributed to the spread of banditry.  Built of stone, pise (compressed earth), brick or concrete, Kaiping Diaolou represent a complex and confident fusion between Chinese and western architectural styles.

The architectural style of Kaiping Diaolou reflects the culmination of almost five centuries tower-house building and these buildings take three forms: communal towers built by several families and used as temporary refuge, of which 473 remain; residential towers built by individual rich families and used as fortified residences, of which 1,149 survive; and watch towers, the latest development, which account for 221 of the buildings. Now Kaiping Diaolou retains a harmonious relationship with the surrounding agricultural landscape.

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