What’s a Diaolou?

The TangKou Community Project and TK-SPACE is conveniently located within the Buffer zone of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites containing world famous diaolou and historical villages but what exactly are “diaolous”?

The story starts with Chinese emigrants that emigrated from the areas in mid 1800’s. As they were trying to escape the harsh conditions at home, they emigrated mostly to North America following the Gold Rush. Many of them accumulated substantial wealth abroad but they retained a concern for their home villages, so in order to protect their families and villages they started to build large defensive towers that now we know as diaolous!

It is worth mentioning that not all of them were fortress watchtowers, many of them served the purpose of storage or actually living in them like a mansion.

UNESCO wrote: “The Diaolous display a complex and flamboyant fusion of Chinese and Western structural and decorative forms. The main towers are a type of building that reflects the significant role played by 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 continuing links between the Kaiping community and Chinese communities in these parts of the world”.