August 2017. Hulishan Fortress is one of Xiamen’s most defining landmarks, a sprawling granite castle perched atop a rocky hill in the south of the island. Built in 1894 in the dying days of the Qing Dynasty, the fort was armed with some of the world’s most powerful cannons and went on to play a key role in China’s war of resistance against Japanese aggression.
August 2017. Many of these original cannons are still on display throughout Hulishan Fortress, now a beautifully landscaped compound of stone pathways, gargantuan banyan trees and vibrant rose bushes. Along the route you’ll pass through a military barracks, a gorgeous cactus garden, a secret tunnel and an ammunition depot.
August 2017. Climb to Hulishan Fortress’ lofty peak and you’ll find the fort’s most prized possession, a massive nineteenth century German Krupp cannon said to be the largest and oldest breechloader in existence. According to the accompanying blurb it weighs eighty-seven tons and has a firing range of up to twenty kilometers. Getting near the old girl can prove tricky, as group after group of tourists line up for that all-important photo. “Yī’…èr…sān”.
August 2017. Even if you’re not bothered about all the cannon, Hulishan Fortress is well worth a visit simply for the cracking views over nearby Baicheng Beach and out to sea from the Taiwan Strait.
August 2017. This jovial old dude provides an additional dose of cannon-related fun for all the family. Basically, see if you can blast a prize ticket off one of the shelves. It’s harder than it looks, but even if you don’t hit anything Mr. Cannon is on hand to cheer you up with a goofy smile and a complimentary pack of chewing gum. Everyone’s a winner at Hulishan Fortress!
For more snapshots of this amazing city, check out my other travel reports from around Xiamen.
Or maybe search further afield with my zillion articles from across China.
I’ve also written a short story series called Challenged in China.
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