Located on the south side of Xiamen Island, Hulishan Fortress guards the Chinese shore for over a century now. Built in 1894, during Guangxu reign in the Qing Dynasty, it has always been an important landmark in the island's history, also serving a key role to the country's defense against the Japanese in 1900 and 1937. Parts of the fortress were recently renovated and it was listed in the Guinness World Records in 2000 for its huge 19th century cannon.
Hulishan Fortress consists of a granite castle, which occupies an area of 13.000 square meters, a commanding tower, an ammunition depot, a sentry platform and barracks. A trench surrounds the fortress for protection. A secret tunnel connects the eastern and western emplacement and guards used to cover both its exits. The whole complex covers an area of 70.000 square meters and the structures are built in a combination of Chinese and European architecture indicating the beginning of westernization of China that was taking place at the time of its erection.
Features of Hulishan Fortress
The base of the fortress was constructed using an innovative Chinese material widely used by the people of Xiamen Island: a mix of clay, sand, glutinous rice, brown sugar and camphor tree sap. The big advantage of this unusual mix is its great strength, but also the fact that, in case a part of the fortress was blown up, its fragments would not harm the ones inside in the way rock or cement would have.
Both emplacements were armed with huge cannons, bought from the German Krupp Munitions Plant. Each cannon was over 13 meters long, weighted 50 tons, had a range of fire of 16 kilometers and cost over 50.000 taels (Chinese metric system for weight) of silver at the time! Unfortunately one of them is long gone, but visitors have a chance to take a look at the one that still remains in the fortress. Along with the Krupp cannon the fortress carries a display of over 50 iron Chinese cannons dating back to Ming and Qing Dynasties, which were found around the island's fields and shore.
In 1997 Rongguang Cultural Relics and Treasures Museum was built in Hulishan. This small museum carries an interesting collection of ancient weaponry, firecrackers and unusual stone formations, most of which was donated by a privet collector from Singapore. The visitor will come across the smallest cannon in the world (it is only 11cm long and weighs 0.22 kilos!), which was made in Portugal in the 13th century and a stone that, funnily enough, looks like a piece of meat including skin, fat and muscles!
One has a chance to watch scenic views, including those of Dadan and Erdan Taiwan ese islets, through telescopes that are located on Wanggui and Pangui terraces of the fortress. A small pavilion located at a high spot can be a nice place to get some rest and enjoy fascinating views of the fortress. During the recent renovations a wall carving, that shows "national soul", was added to the fortress as an artistic touch that honors the history of the place. Besides the wall carvings sits a small garden.
Reviews of Hulishan Fortress
Hulishan Fortress is a key national historical and cultural site. In August 2000, the Fortress was listed in the Guinness World Records for the year 2000. The Fortress, built in the 20th year of Emperor Guangxu's reign (1894), has more than 100 years of a gloomy history of rise and fall. The base of the fortress is made of a mixture of camphor tree sap, liquid brown sugar, glutinous rice, clay and sand, making it rather solid. The Fortress is composed of a barracks, a secret tunnel, a commanding tower, a sentry platform, an ammunition depot, a trench, a castle, and other structures. The rectangular castle, made of granite rocks, occupies 13,000 square meters. Xiamen was an ancient battlefield where its people resisted imperial aggressors, and it played an important role in resisting foreign aggressors. The Krupp Company of Germany purchased east and west emplacements of the Fortress, along with its two main cannons (only one remains). The length of the cannon is 13.13 meters and its weight is 50 tons. The caliber of the cannon is 280 mm and it has a maximum range of fire of 16,000 meters. The Fortress displays more than 50 iron cannons from the Ming Dynasty and the Qing Dynasty, unearthed from the Xiamen waters and the building site of capital construction. The east and west emplacements are connected by a tunnel, and military camps sit at the tunnel¡¯s exits. As a coastal defense fortress, the Hulishan Fortress has a trench outside and a patrolling path inside.
In 1986, platforms of yearning for return are built toward the front of the Fortress. Through telescopes, tourists can see Dadan and Erdan Islands, which are under Jinmen's jurisdiction. In recent years, the Fortress yard was cleaned up and large-scale wall carvings representing the "national soul" were built, demonstrating with profound artistic conception warehousing weapons, reviving military forces, and resisting strong enemies. "Rong Spring" was newly built on the left side of the wall carvings, quite a novel approach. Behind the wall carvings, a small garden with evergreen grass displays many sculptures and a golden ball cactus. A leisure and sightseeing pavilion built in a high place brings harmony to the environment and fits naturally with the surroundings. The Moonlight Rock scenic spot is opened up in the north of the small garden, along with a "dragon spring waterfalls," "a line sky," and "the poem wall of the Hulishan Fortress."
China Highlights can help you customize a tour to Xiamen including a visit to Hulishan Fortress.