A tale of two cities
- Posted by Newsdesk
- On 8th August 2018
- china, china tourism, Diaolou, Jiangmen, tourism, UNESCO
Last week your humble editor had a chance to visit an UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Diaolou towers in Jiangmen, situated between Guangzhou and Macau. These building were erected by Overseas Chinese who had been successful in their adopted countries and wanted to document both their wealth and their newly acquired tastes by building houses of several stories with many Western architectural elements like columns, turrets, glazed tiles, iron doors and window shutters. The first diaolou was already built in the 16th century as a defensive structure against pirates and robbers, but most of the 3,000 buildings were erected in the 1920s and 1930s, a symbol of the wealth of those families which had been successful among the many emigrants from this region.
Many of them were later abandoned and about a third of them even destroyed, but as a result of the relaxation in the relations between the Beijing government and the Overseas Chinese communities in the last 25 years, some of them have been renovated and opened for visitors. In 2007 the UNESCO granted clusters of diaolous in four villages the much coveted World Heritage Status. Some local NGOs have done additional work in the last decade to renovate ancestral halls and to create community centres, which also offer hostel-style accommodation for international backpackers […]
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Image: 18630-Kaiping by xiquinhosilva Source: Flickr Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)