Qiāng Watchtowers

sights / Historic

Qiāng Watchtowers information

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These ancient stone towers (羌族碉楼; Qiāngzú diāolóu) , nestled incongruously among village homes on hillsides overlooking the Dàdù River, were built by the Qiang people between 700 and 1200 years ago. The towers range from 20m to 60m in height and were used as places of worship and to store valuable goods as well as to signal warnings of would-be attackers. They were built with a number of inner wooden storeys, which have since disintegrated, and entrances that were some metres above ground. One enterprising family in Suōpō (梭坡), the nearest village to Dānbā with watchtowers, has rebuilt the wooden levels of the tower next to their home and allows visitors to climb up the inside from their rooftop, for a small fee of course (¥15). Don’t worry about finding them. They, or a ‘friend’ of theirs, will find you.

To get to Suōpō, turn left out of Zháxī Zhuōkāng Backpackers Hostel and walk along the river for about 30 minutes. Turn down the track beside the small police station, then cross the suspension bridge and keep walking up to the village. Look for stone steps under some large trees up to your left, just after you reach the village’s first couple of buildings. These steps lead to the nearest towers.