In ancient times, cities around the world were walled, and only a century ago China had hundreds of walled cities scattered around the country. Even Xiamen was walled until the 20s and 30s, when the walls were destroyed to allow the downtown area to expand more easily.
Today, Chongwu is one of the few remaining walled cities in China. The walls were built in 1384, and are 2.5 kilometres long and 7 meters high. Over 1600 battlements allowed locals' to safely fend off Japanese pirates, Chinese pirates, and foreign barbarians like myself!
I usually enter the gate by Xin Hua Nan Street. It is such a maze inside that I've considered tying a piece of string to the gate and my belt so I can find my way back out again! But the walled city is small, so if you go in one direction long enough you're bound to come out upon the wall, a gate, and freedom.
I enjoy the Chen family's beautiful old home with its carved stone, wooden paneling, and courtyard. The last time I visited, their son was making a batch of Chongwu's famous fish balls. I took a batch home and fried them up. Heavenly!
At the "T" intersection we go right until we reach the wall, and then walk along it to the lighthouse. This offers the best view in town of the walled city, and of the curved beach. Hui'an is famous for its dozens of miles of fine beaches.
I love the exotic walled city of Chongwu—it's narrow streets, and ancient homes. But Chongwu also has one of the most unique temples in China!
When the temple's founder, Ms. Zhengen, was only 12 years old, her family moved to Chongwu from Singapore. On September 17th, 1949, Taiwan planes attacked while she was on the beach. 24 PLA soldiers died to save the girl, and ever since Zhenghen has burned incense and offerings to show her gratitude and respect. And with two million Yuan in donations she began this temple in 1991. She had a hard time getting approval at first. But gradually they came to understand that her intent was merely to help people understand the sacrifices that these soldiers, and others, have made not only for her but for all Chinese in New China. And today, people from all over come to pay their respects to the martyred PLA soldiers. But people also come from all over China to see the exotic Hui'an maidens!