Hezhou’s Jiang Clan Walled Hakka Village in Guangxi

Hezhou, Guangxi

The walled Hakka (客家) village of the Jiang clan (江氏客家围屋), near Hezhou (贺州) in Guangxi province, belongs to the  category of fortified villages and compounds that we find here and there in South China.

The watchtowers of and fortified mansions of Kaiping (开平雕镂) south of Guangzhou and the UNESCO-listed earth buildings known as the tulou (土楼) of the southwestern Fujian and eastern Guangdong are better

You have to find a way uphill to get a bird-view to realize that this walled Hakka village, more like an enclosed semi-fortified hamlet which looks like a small castle in the middle of paddy fields. It is probably the only building of this type in Guangxi province.

Hezhou, Guangxi

Hakka, Castles and migrations

The Hakka people (客家) migrated from the Central Plains of China to the south in successive waves. They settled in Jiangxi province, then pushed towards Fujian and eastern Guangdong. During a fourth wave of migration, some arrived in Guangxi province.

The Hakka brought with them a ‘castle culture’ from the Central Plains of China. There are two major clusters of castles (城堡) in the Fenhe and Qinhe River basins in Shanxi province. When they settled in Fujian and Guangdong, the Hakka reproduced castle-like structures. In Fujian, they built the tulou (土楼) which can be circular or square. In north and west Guangdong, they built enclosed hamlets (围屋) made of stone or earth.

The walled Hakka village of the Jiang (江氏客家围屋 – Jiangshi Kejia Weishi) near Hezhou was built during Hakka’s fourth wave of migration, at the end of the reign of Emperor Qianlong (乾隆), during the last quarter of the 18th century.

Hezhou, Guangxi

A walk in the walled village

The structure of this walled village reminds of a military camp. The 300 meters long compound is surrounded by a 3-meter high mud-brick wall. One accesses through either one of the two lateral gates. One of the gate is a two-story building that overlook the paddy fields.
The compound is divided into 5 sections. The central section is a succession of three halls dedicated to the Jiang family ancestors and separated by open courtyards and sky well.
Each section of the 4 other sections (2 on each side of the central section) is three hundreds meters long and consists in a succession of living quarters articulated around sky wells.
 Hezhou, Guangxi
There are a dozen of families still living within the walls. Most of the others have already moved out and built larger, modern houses just outside the compound.
When I asked a woman if she was living there, she told me that she had moved out a few years ago, her family was growing and their ancient home was becoming too small.
Hezhou, Guangxi

How to get there

The walled Hakka (客家) village of the Jiang clan (江氏客家围屋) is located 20 km outside Hezhou (贺州) in Guangxi province.

Locals did not know how to get there using public transportation. Negotiate your fare with a taxi driver. I saw buses bound to Liantang 莲塘 and Houtian 厚田. Tell the driver you want to go to Jiangshi Hakka Compound 江氏客家围屋. You’ll have to walk a kilometer or two, but there are signs on the way.

The easiest way is to hire a taxi (50 RMB and add another 50 RMB if you’d like him to wait for you).

Hezhou, Guangxi

There are 2 comments

  1. sbandtg

    i discovered your blog too late!!!! after 7 months in china i am gone. but now i have your blog archives to refer to for the next time. thank you!! again….

    1. Gaetan

      Thank you 🙂
      It’s never too late. I am sure you will come back to China for more traveling. With the Chinese your learnt, it will be easier for you to go off the beaten track. I am glad you can use my blog as a source of inspiration for your next travel plans.

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