Jiaowei: Chinese Mainland's Southernmost Township
April 17, 2017Comments(0) Post Your Comment E-mail Print Save

Jiaowei, a township in Xuwen, a county in Zhanjiang, a city in southern China's Guangdong Province, is situated on the northern bank of Qiongzhou Strait. Jiaowei has a history of more than 2,000 years. It was the starting point of Silk Road's sea route during the Han Dynasty (202BC-220). A mapping of the township's terrain resembles a horn that is extending to the sea. The township's dengloujiao (point where a lighthouse is located) is the southernmost point of the Chinese mainland. The locals call the township "Antarctic village."

Jiaowei is surrounded (on three sides) by water. Qiongzhou Strait, a part of the South China Sea, and which separates Leizhou Peninsula and Hainan Island, is to the east and south of the township. Beibu Gulf is to the west of the township. The South China Sea and Beibu Gulf connect at Jiaowei. The locals use a romantic title — "kissing waves" — to refer to the natural phenomenon. The phenomenon is one of the well-known beautiful scenes in Jiaowei.

The original lighthouse on dengloujiao was built in 1890, during the reign of Emperor Guangxu (1875-1908) of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). The local government destroyed the lighthouse to prevent Japanese invaders from using the lighthouse, during the Chinese People's War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression. The local government rebuilt the lighthouse in 1953. Now, the lighthouse is no longer used. A rhomb-hexagonal lighthouse, constructed by Guangdong Maritime Safety Administration in 1994, is used as a navigation beacon by ships in Qiongzhou Strait and Beibu Gulf. The lighthouse is the symbol of dengloujiao.

In March 1950, the People's Liberation Army crossed Qiongzhou Strait from dengloujiao to liberate residents on Hainan Island. The command post, which was built to direct the battle, has been well-preserved. The command post, with the lighthouse, attracts many travelers and photographers.

The temperature and salinity of the shallow sea along the bank of dengloujiao is a suitable habitat for coral insects. The shallow sea is a national-level, coral-reef natural reserve that is home to more than 60 kinds of well-preserved coral-reef clusters.

The coral cover more than 143 square kilometers. As the tide ebbs on sunny days, tourists can view the coral by boat or ox cart. 

The varieties of the coral include tree coral that resemble antler, ox horn or tree branch and knob coral that look like honeycomb or corselet. Most of the corals are white, yellow or orange. Some coral are red or blue.

Prior to the 1970s, the locals used coral reefs to build dwellings. Houses built with porous, light coral reefs were warm in winter and cool in summer. When the sea breeze blows through holes of the coral, people can hear beautiful sounds if they lean close to the coral. The locals use a romantic title — "a house that can recite poems" — to refer to the houses built with coral reefs.

In the past, nearly all of the locals made a living by fishing, and drying brine in the sun to make salt. As the beautiful scenery in Jiaowei has attracted more and more travelers, many locals have been using their coral-reef dwellings as village inns. 

Xuwen County has a train station. Travelers have to take a bus to Maichen Town (in Xuwen), where they can transfer to a bus to Jiaowei.

Admission to dengloujiao is free.

Seafood is fresh and reasonably priced in Jiaowei. Travelers can eat and stay in family inns.

 

(Executive Editor: WEI XUANYI, Women of China English Monthly March 2017 Issue)

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