Lying 60 kilometers (37 miles) southeast of Tianjin City, the Dagukou Fort was built in 1816 to protect Beijing, the capital of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). As a heroic symbol of China's fight against foreign invasion, the emplacement is considered one of the three treasures of Tianjin by its people.
Tianjin is the gateway to Beijing, and the Dagukou Fort is the gateway to Tianjin. Both the Ming (1368-1644) and the Qing dynasties erected fortresses here because of its military importance. In 1858, the Qing government built six emplacements named Wei, Zhen, Hai, Men, Gao, and Shitoufeng. They were all thicker and wider than those constructed in the Ming Dynasty. Between the mid-19th century and 1900, the Eight-Power Allied Forces launched four wars in the Dagu area to gain economic and political control over China. The local armies and citizens fought bravely against the invaders, and many Chinese people sacrificed their lives for their country. After the war, the imperialists forced the Qing government to destroy the emplacements. As a result, most of the forts were demolished and only the Wei Fort and the Hai Fort survived.
Visitors can see the Dagu Fort Ruins Museum, the Dagukou Fort Ruins Monument, and the Wei and the Hai forts here. The museum was built in 1997 at the ruins of the Wei Fort. It displays the history of the emplacement with abundant pictures, illustrations, and objects. Of the six forts, the Wei Fort is the only round one. The emplacement, which is more than 20 meters (65 feet) high, is made of bricks. The cannons exhibited here are modeled on the ones used in the Second Opium War (1856-1860). The spot conveys a vivid feel for the cruel battle that took place in this area.
Near this emplacement ruins, many other scenic spots such as Haimen Bridge, Dagukou Beacon, and Chaoyin Temple are also worthy of visiting. A visit here is destined to be an unforgettable one.
(Photos by Matthew J. Stinson)
Admission fee: 10 yuan
Opening hours: 08:00-17:00
Bus Route: Take Bus No.612 or 613 in Tianjin to Tanggu and Transfer to Bus No.110.
(travelchinaguide.com July 25, 2007)