1. Hulishan Fortress, 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.
2. Hulishan Fortress, August 2017. Many of these original cannons are still on display throughout the fortress park, 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.
3. Hulishan Fortress, August 2017. Climb to the park’s 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”.
4. Hulishan Fortress, August 2017. There are some cracking views from the fort, with an extensive panoramic over nearby Baicheng Beach and the Taiwan Strait.
5. Hulishan Fortress, 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.
For more snapshots of this amazing city, check out My 5s 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.