Anzhen Fort – A Hakka Masterpiece Deep in the Mountains

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The special migration process of Hakka will inevitably be a conflict of interest with the aborigines, highly excluded. So, the places for Hakka to live are mostly sparsely populated mountains and remote place, and built homes have sought protection safety, so the Earth Building (Tulou) of Yongding County, Fujian and round houses of Ganzhou, jiangxi came into being. 

Fujian Yong'an is one of the Hakka settlements, and this time visited to a Hakka masterpiece deep in the mountains - Anzhen Fort. Anzhen Fort is one of the key cultural relic reserves in China, situated in Yangtou villiage, huainan town Yong’an City, Fujian Province. It covers the area of 10,000 square meters, including 6,000 square meters of building area, locating on the west and facing the east. Anzhen Fort is a large-size residents building rarely found in Fujian Province, one of the best preserved ancient ram-stone buildings (local fort) in Fujian as well.

Starting from Sanming, we were on the provincial highway to Datian direction, and then transfer tohuainan Village, Yangtou County from jianshe Town, Datian Count. GPS instructed Anzhen Fort was in the nearby, but we couldn’t find it. 
Ps: Sanming belongs to low mountainous and hilly area, as well as river valleys. The main land of the city can be divided into several types, including fluvial landform, Danxia landform, karst landform and some other trivial landforms. Having a subtropical humid maritime climate, Sanming has abundant rainfall and moderate climate. It is affected greatly by maritime monsoon. Its rainy season may last from March to September, and October to February is the dry season. The average temperature of a year is about 17-19C (63-66F).The city is favorable for visiting all the year round.

In the instruction of the locals, we passed through a pine forest and walked on a paddy field of the ridge, looked up, at the foot of the front misty mountains, a black tiles and yellow walls of the huge building impressively presented in front of us, which was the Anzhen Fort we had been looking for.

I did not rush into the Anzhen Fort, but climbed up a small hill in front of the Fort, from where I can clearly panoramic view of the castle and the surrounding terrain. 

The entire building complex of Anzhen Fort was a square, buildings inside ups and downs, patchwork, overhanging eaves and the ridge layers, very spectacular!

The three black Chinese characters “安贞堡” on the courtyard of the fort are exceptionally sober. Both sides of the door engraved a couplet.

Glimpses inside the fort through thick rivets gate, I didn’t know how deep the courtyard.

Through the dark gate house, pushed open the two painted wooden doors, the first thing is a long, narrow open courtyard, which was surrounded by tall two-story buildings, having corridors within the layers.

Walked on the steps, there are also two painted wooden doors. The wooden doors of the lateral beams have the Chinese characters “紫气东来” .

The front of the open courtyard is the main hall of the fort, but this hall is very special, a rare form of the pavilion. 

There are doors on the first layer of the main hall which can be open, carved with beautiful auspicious design patterns.

Anzhen Fort Features 

It is praised as the living fossil of Chinese ancient building and the Treasure in the Middle of FujianProvince due to its elaborate architecture design style of Qing Dynasty. 

Started from 1885 in the eleventh year of Guanxu Period of Qing Dynasty, the local country gentlemen Chi Zhangrui and Chi Liangguan, the father and the son, dedicated their thousands of wealth and spent 14 years building-up the Anzhen Fort. In each fort, eaves, doors, windows, footing of posts, arches, beams and purlins of the fort, you will see carvings, colorful paintings, clay statuses and frescos as well as many story carvings derived from the traditional Chinese novels of Romance of the Three Kingdoms, A Monkey's Story, o­ne hundred and eight men in Nanmu (one kind of Chinese ancient wood) of various halls, implying the high-level architecture skills and wisdoms of local people at that time.

Anzhen Fortress is off the beaten path but well worth a visit. Built just over a century ago, the walls around the 10,000 sq. meter compound are 9 meters high and 4 meters thick. The walls and towers complement each other in such a way that those within could safely shoot the enemy (barbarians, warlords, insurance salesmen), no matter what direction they attacked from. The fortress had 12 kitchens, six o­n each side, with ‘alligator’ vents above. Second floor granaries had trap doors leading directly to the kitchens below.
The fortress is in excellent shape, but much of the fine wooden and stone ornamentation was destroyed during the Cultural Revolution, and the furniture hauled off. The caretakers of Anzhen Fortress are now seeking funds to repair the site, and buy back the stolen furniture and art work.

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