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Dapeng Fortress

This article was originally published on June 7, 2010, in the Shenzhen Daily.
The information was accurate at that time, and may be outdated now. Use with caution.

The main gate of Dapeng Fortress
Longtime Shenzheners may have heard our fair city nicknamed "The Roc City," the roc being a large, mythical bird. The name is a translation of "dapeng cheng (大鹏城)," or Dapeng Fortress, one of Shenzhen's most spectacular historical sites. (Others say it's because the city looks like a giant bird from the air; I suspect this explanation came later.)

A costumed guard at the gate
The Dapeng Fortress was built in the Ming Dynasty (in 1394, to be exact) to defend the modern areas of eastern Shenzhen and Hong Kong against Japanese pirates. The Fortress stands as firm today as it did when it withstood a 40-day siege back in 1571.

You won't find scaling ladders and siege engines today; you will, however, find an excellent museum, several small temples, numerous wells still in use, ancient store houses, and three fine gates, reminiscent to the tourist's eye of "Great Wall"-type architecture.

Entrance to the Lai Enjue Mansion
The mansions of naval leaders Lai Enjue and Liu Qilong stand inside the walls. Both are magnificent. Lai Enjue, with a fleet of fishing boats, won the Battle of Kowloon against British naval vessels in 1839, at the start of the First Opium War.

Courtyard inside the Lai Enjue Mansion
Finally, meet the smiling people living relatively traditional village lifestyles far from the urban conditions that prevail in central Shenzhen.

The site first opened as a museum in 1996, and came under state protection in 2001. It's worth a full day, include a few hours on local buses. Take bus 364 to the end of the line (Dapeng terminal) and a short ride on bus 928 from there.

While you're out that far, why not visit the two interesting temples in the area?

There's more about Dapeng Fortress in another article in the Shenzhen Daily, "Dapeng Fortress, SZ's only historical site under State protection."

GPS Info:
  • 22.59391, 114.51363


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