The almost-2000 stone towers of Kaiping County in China are not exactly ancient -the oldest are barely over 100 years old. But the Diaolou, as they are called, are beautiful and impressive.
During the Qing Dynasty of late 19th and early 20th centuries, these buildings were used as temporary refuge by several families or residential towers by individual rich families and as fortified residences, and watch towers. During the 1920s and 1930s, there were more than three thousand of these structures. Today, approximately 1,833 Diaolou remain standing in Kaiping, and approximately 500 in Taishan. 20 of the most symbolic ones are inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.