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.
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.
A walk in the walled village
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).