In keeping with its position as the first and final China stop on the Marine Silk Road, Chiwan was also one of the prime defensive spots on the Pearl River others were Tung Chung Fort near Hong Kong Airport and the Humen forts forty miles upriver. The Chiwan Fort was divided into two parts, the Left Fort and the Right Fort. Originally they had twelve gun positions but now only the Left Fort is in any reasonable degree of repair. Perched on Ying Zui Mountain, at over 500 feet above the Pearl River, they commanded a full field of fire. Their failure to make any impression on British ships as they entered the Pearl was one of the first great disasters of the Opium War.
You climb up worn granite steps heavily overgrown with banyan and other fig roots and arrive at a magnificent vista of the Pearl River, although somewhat restricted by recent reforestation. There’s something infinitely melancholy about the encrusted brass cannon looking out over the river, especially when you know of their failure to do their job.
The fort is within easy walking distance of the Tin Hau Temple.
Address: Chiwan First Rd., Chiwan, Nanshan
Open between 8 am and 5.30 pm
Metro: Chiwan on the Shekou line
Buses nos. 226 and 355. Bus stop is Tian Hou Gong