Situated in the beautiful Xiamen is Hulishan Fortress. Deemed a key national and cultural site, the fortress is world-renowned for its collection of canons – even being mentioned in the Guinness Book of World Records. Built during the Qing dynasty (1636–1912) overlooking the ocean, this extraordinary complex offers stunning panoramic views. With its rich history spanning over a century, and important cultural significance, Hulishan Fortress is an attraction that cannot be missed.
- Hulishan Fortress covers a total area of more than 70,000 square meters (roughly 17 acres).
- The fortress contains more than 50 iron cannons dating from various periods of the Qing dynasty (1644 to 1911), and are the main highlights of this attraction.
- The most famous of said cannons is the Krupp Cannon, with an estimated range of 16 km. In August 2000, it was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest and largest coastal artillery in the world.
History Of Hulishan Fortress
Construction of Hulishan Fortress commenced during the Qing dynasty’s, Emperor Guangxu in 1894. The 70,000 square meter site was completed in 1896. Virtually impenetrable, the fortress was built to defend Xiamen Island from attack by sea. The complex was built to include barracks, a tunnel, a magazine, and other fortified structures, all surrounded by an imposing granite wall. On the east and south sections of the fort, two cannons were strategically placed, yet only one remains into the present day. Both cannons were produced at the Krupp Munitions Plant in Germany in 1886, and purchased for about 80,000 taels of silver apiece.
Hulishan Fortress was equipped with more than 50 cannons, all made in the Ming and Qing dynasties. The fortress possessed a significant geographical advantage in Xiamen, with the strategic location atop Hulishan Mountain. The fortress has played a decisive role in resisting aggressors throughout its history. During the period of Japanese aggression in 1900 and again in 1937, Hulishan Fortress was an important defensive component for Xiamen.
In 1986, a new section of the fortress was built called “Platforms of Yearning for Return”, provided exquisite panoramic views of the surrounding area. On two terraces (called Wanggui and Pangui) telescopes were added to the location, and visitors can espy Dadan and Erdan Islands.
Culture Of Hulishan Fortress
Every morning at 8:30 AM sharp, an armed guard clad in traditional uniforms opens the gates to Hulishan Fortress, in a welcoming ceremony for visitors. Visitors can also experience a military training performance, which displays traditional training from the Ming (1368 to 1644) and Qing ((1644 to 1911) dynasties. The 16-minute performance involves actors clad in period costumes, using historical weaponry. The performance occurs at 10 AM and 4 PM each day.
Also located on the grounds of the Hulishan Fortress complex is the Rongguang Museum. Located in the original barracks of the fortress, the muesum is named after a famous collector from Singapore named Zhang Rongguang. Visitors can peruse the extensive collection of guns, swords, ancient firecrackers, unique natural stones, and cannons. One of the highlights of the Rongguang Museum, includes the smallest cannon in the world. Constructed in the Middle Ages by the Portuguese, it measures 11 centimeters in length, and weighs only about half a pound.
Another treasure of the Rongguang Museum is a unique stone originating in Burma. It weighs about 2.5 tons, and is considered the main treasure of the museum.
The Krupp Cannon was made in the Krupp Munitions Plant in Germany in 1886. Measuring 13.13 meters long and 50 tons in weight, it can revolve 360 degrees and has a shooting range of 1,600 meters (or one mile). In 2000, this cannon was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records, as the oldest and largest coastal cannon on its original site in the world.
- Hulishan Fortress is open from 7:30 AM to 6 PM form April to October. From November to March, the fort is open from 7:30 AM to 5:30 PM.
- Children under 3.9 feet (1.2 meters) gain free admission.
- Hulishan Fortress is easily accessible via Xiamen public transportation.
- The best time to visit Hulishan Fortress is usually during the autumn, which offers the best panoramic views. During the summertime, weather in Xiamen is often hot and wet.