Diaoyu Fortress

The steep and magnificent Oriental Mecca - Diaoyu Fortress

In the city of West China - Chongqing stood a "miracle town", which once rewrote the whole history of the world, named Diaoyu Fortress.

Like many historical sites in China, the interesting name of “Diaoyu Fortress” was derived from an ancient legend: a long time ago, a number of flood victims ran towards the mountain to escape from the flood. Just when they were starving, a Titan came down from the heaven, sat on a boulder and went fishing to feed the victims. Hence, people named the mountain Fishing Mountain to commemorate the Titan. And the town built along the mountain was named Diaoyu Fortress.

Diaoyu Fortressis located on the top of the Fishing Mountain, in the east peninsula of Hechuan District, Chongqing. Three rivers (Jialing River, Fu River and Qv River) converge in Hechuan, forming a natural military advantage for Diaoyu Fortress- easy to defend, but hard to attack. Standing in the Diaoyu Fortress, viewing the three rivers converging into one, the feeling as you are surrounded by rivers from three sides, and the steep cliff on one side, you will clearly understand the reason why the place under your feet was of vital military importance.

Wall of Diaoyu Fortress

History is the best evidence. The Diaoyu Fortress Battle, which is world famous because of the smaller, weaker army overtaking the larger and stronger army, took place here.

In 1235, the war between the Song Dynasty and Mongolia broke out in full scale. It was the longest, largest labor-consuming, and the toughest war for Mongolia, a force that rose from the 13th century. The Diaoyu FortressBattle was one of the most influential battles during this war.

In 1257, Mongke Khan, who had been the Great Khan of the Mongol Empire for seven years, advanced his army, which had conquered Europe, Asia, and Africa on the west side, to launch a large-scale war against the Song Dynasty. Mongke Khan led the principal force of his army to attack Sichuan.

In February 1259, Mongke and his army came in front of the border of the Fishing Town. Achieving triumph in all his former battles, Mongke would never image that he had no chance to conquer the Fishing Town, a 2.5 square kilometers small city. In July of the same year, Mongke was attacked by a bombard and died soon after.

Mongke Khan’s failure had huge influences. American historian Leften Stavros Stavrianos pointed out in the "Global History" that: “after (Hulagu) conquering Allerton and Damascus in the same way, it seems that no force can stop the Mongols to attack Egypt and North Africa, so as to complete the conquest throughout the Muslim world ...... Mongke Khan’s death brought disruption of the united Mongolian ruling circles...... The failure of this army (Mongke’s army) saved the Islamic world, marking the beginning of the decline of the Mongol Empire.”

Mongke’s death first claimed the complete collapse of Mongol Empire’s plan of destroying Song Dynasty, prolonging the life of Song Dynasty to 20 years longer. Secondly, Mongolian army's third-time west expedition was suspended because of this, alleviating the threat to Europe, Asia, Africa and other regions. Thirdly, Mongke’s death provided an opportunity for Kublai, the younger brother of Mongke to ascend to the throne, who played not just a very important role in the history of China, but in the history of the world.

The army and the people in Diaoyu Fortressstill persisted to fight for many years after Mongke’s death. Until 1279 (at this time the Yuan Dynasty had been established for 8 years by Kublai Khan), the Diaoyu Fortresssurrendered to the Yuan Dynasty on condition that no people in the Diaoyu Fortresswould be hurt. In the Mongolian invading process, all the resistant cities got massacred except the Fishing Town, protecting its people after 36 years of incessant warfare. 

During the 36 years from 1243 to 1279, the army and people of Diaoyu Fortressfought over 200 combats against the Mongolian army and the Yuan Dynasty army.

The Diaoyu Fortress Battle was a defending miracle (36 years of defending) in the ancient and modern world war history. It claimed Mongke’s death and forced the Mongol Empire to withdraw from the Eurasian battlefield. Hence, the whole world highly praised this town for its contributions, such as prolonging the life of the Song Dynasty, alleviating the wars in Europe and Asian, and preventing the Mongolian expansion into Africa. The Europeans called the Mongolian army the "Scourge of God", and they named Diaoyu Fortressto be “God’s Folding Scourge Place” or the “Oriental Mecca.”

As a typical representative of the mountain city fortress defense system, the Diaoyu Fortressfully demonstrated its defensive role in the cold weapon era. Nowadays, there is a sandbox model of the ancient Diaoyu Fortressbattlefield exhibiting in the Military Museum of the Chinese People's Revolution, highlighting its important position in the history of Chinese ancient wars.

Today, Diaoyu Fortresshas become a world-famous tourist attraction. As one of the best preserved Chinese ancient battlefield sites, tourists can feel its “magnificent, rare, dangerous, beautiful, warfare, ancient and tranquil” features. It is the only scenic spot in Chongqing being honored with both the National Park of China and the National Key Cultural Unit. 

Today, Diaoyu Fortress has become a world-famous tourist attraction. As one of the best preserved Chinese ancient battlefield sites, tourists can feel its “magnificent, rare, dangerous, beautiful, warfare, ancient and tranquil” features. It is the only scenic spot in Chongqing being honored with both the National Park of China and the National Key Cultural Unit.

The surrounding mountains have beautiful natural scenery, such as lush vegetation, ancient stone roads, three standing hills, crisscrossed paths, scattered ponds and dotted villages, making people relaxed and happy.

In the 2.5 square kilometer main scenic spot, tourists can see the military and living facilities relics of the Song and Yuan Dynasty, such as the city wall, gates, forts, navy pier, arms workshops, marshal mansion, barracks, Tianchi Pond and Naodingping Stage, as well as the religion sites including the Huguo Temple, the Zhongyi Hall, the Impending Reclining Buddha in Tang Dynasty, the Buddha Caves and the Three Sacred Rocks. The natural wonders including the 800-year-old laurel, the Thin Knife Ridge, the Three Turtles Stone and the Misty Rain of the Diaoyu Fortresscan also be seen.

Over the years, the local government consistently carried on the "double protection" policy regarding the natural ecology and cultural relics of the Fishing Town, maintaining its “authentic” style through many vicissitudes. Today, the Diaoyu Fortresshas been ranked the World Cultural Heritage Tentative List, and the local government is supporting its application for the World Cultural Heritage.

The thump of hooves was buried in history, but the sound of waves never stops. More and more people come from all over the world, climbing Fishing Town, overlooking the three rivers, and quietly listening to the miracle story of this town.


Editor:Chen Qiaodi