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Gulou Memory
OCT Gulou Waterfront
over-700-year free flowing;
Landscape & bridge & courtyard, the echo of natural leisure
Encircling piers, stone bridges, fish ponds, boats, lotuses, old banyan trees, egrets...... Here you can encounter all imaginable glamour in water countryside.
The celebrities, Liangzan, the master of Wing Chun, Feng Changgeng, the founder of Xingshi (dancing lion), Wang Zebang, the king of herbal tea, Hu Die, the film queen, and countless intelligent and industrious Gulou civilians have all walked slowly on the stone bridges in Gulou Waterfront.
Gulou is located in Heshan whose terrain is long and narrow in the northwest edge of the Pearl River Delta.
Since the Song and Yuan Dynasties, with the formation and development of the Pearl River Delta, a large bulk of alluvial shoals appeared in the lower reaches of Xijiang River.
In the Song Jiading period, Laowei, once Counseling Scholar-official, moved from Zhuji Lane, Nanxiong County to the South with two sons Lao Yonghan and Lao Yongshen.
They took a raft down Zhenjiang River, Shaoguan, to Xijiang River where they were caught in a storm and ashore out of safety.
Two sons saw here facing Xijiang River, back against the tea mountain, and then decided to stay.
At the same time, their cousin Gudulu moved south. They worked together, living a stable life abundant in grain, fish, mulberry and tea.
Later, because people surnamed “Gu” and “Lao” prospered, this place is called as “Gulou”.
Before Yuan Dynasty, there was no embankment on Xijiang River. When Xijiang River rose, it not only flooded the whole territory of Gulou, but also extended to Yuqiao, Shaping, Yuetang and some places of Yayao.
Since Song Dynasty, along with the increasing number of immigrants, it was necessary to open up living space, so the people constantly built dikes and reclaimed barren beaches spontaneously. However, because of their small scale and low quality, they were easy to be washed away.
During the Hongwu reign of Emperor Taizu of Ming Dynasty, the imperial court attached great importance to water conservancy construction and sent officials to various places many times to build water conservancy.
Under the organization of Feng Baxiu and the efforts of many generations of Gulou people, Gulou encircling piers have been gradually formed and improved. The winding rivers are connected with the use of plank and stone bridges.
People here dug out fish ponds encircled by embankments. Inside the encircles are the rivers intermingled and fish ponds dotted. Small mounds appear one after another between rivers and fish ponds, where aborigines plant mulberry and sugarcane, or build houses to live in.
The embankments beside Xijiang River are called “encircles”, while these small mounds are called “encircling piers”.
Therefore, Gulou is also called Encircling Piers Waterfront.
Under the embankments of Gulou Encircles, nine culverts were built, which ran north to south and were low-lying in the middle, which could be open or closed to carry out drainage and irrigation as needed.
For example, Shengpingxu was built on the embankment with a culvert opening under the embankment. The culvert was open and closed as instructed.
As usual there is living water running through the river, and when it is full, it can discharge out of Xijiang River through another culvert opening.
Also, thirteen streams of water flow down from the tea hills, creeping into Xijiang River.
Then it is known as “nine culverts thirteen pits”.
The villagers took advantage of the scientific distribution of “nine culverts thirteen pits” and the rising and ebbing tide of Xijiang River to skillfully regulate the water flow within the encircles to ensure the safety level of the water.
Here, the fish pond is mainly for fish farming, the small mound for mulberry and sugarcane planting. Mulberry leaves are for silkworm breeding, silkworm feces and pennisetum purpureum schumach for fish farming, and pond mud fertilizes mulberry trees. They work together to establish rapport with each other, fish, mulberry, and silkworm.
To form the traditional mulberry fish pond.
By the beginning of the 21st century, there were more than 10,000 residents and 18,000 overseas Chinese and compatriots from Hong Kong and Macao, with 400 hectares of fish ponds and 80 hectares of mulberry land cultivated, mainly producing pond fish, sericulture and sugar cane.
In the past 30 years, Gulou has retained the precious natural ecology of mulberry fish pond and the features of encircles Waterfront.
It is deemed as the last piece of original ecological scenic area in the industrialized Pearl River Delta.