Hailongtun meaning ‘Sea Dragon Castle’, is a ruined fortress on the Longyan Mountain, in Zunyi City, China. The fortress was the stronghold of the Bozhou Tusi until its destruction by the Ming dynasty after the Bozhou rebellion.
A well-preserved medieval castle in China, Hailongtun is one of the three Tusi sites designated by the UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 2015.
Established in 1257 during the Southern Song dynasty, Hailongtun served as the stronghold of the Bozhou Tusi, ruled by the Yang family, from the Southern Song to the Ming dynasty. The Tusi were local kings of a hereditary tribe that ruled their territories according to local customs and tradition while still having been appointed by central imperial government.
In 1600 the Ming defeated the Bozhou rebellion, with the last tusi Yang Yinglong committing suicide, at which point the castle was burned down.
Hailongtun is surrounded by cliffs on all sides with only one entrance from the mountain road which is reached up some stairs. The castle’s architecture reflects its once great strategic importance; its gates flanked by the remains of archer’s towers and surrounded by a deep moat. The encircling wall measuring 6 kilometres long is well preserved and was apparently made wide enough for horses to gallop along it.
While today Hailongtun is predominantly ruined, the views across the mountains show just how the fortress would have dominated the area from above. Visitors can wander the misty remains guided by rails and information boards in both English and Chinese.
Getting to Hailongtun
Getting to Hailongtun from Zunyi (which is the old city about 30 kilometres away) is relatively easy as there is a bus each hour from Maocaopu bus station. Taxis will take you there for around ¥100 as well.
Once you arrive there is a tram that takes you from the visitors centre to the foot of the mountain.