Diaoyu Fortress, Chongqing – Ticket Price, Opening Hours, Location, and Highlights

diaoyu fortress

Diaoyu Fortress, also known as Diaoyucheng (钓鱼城), is strategically located at the confluence of the Jialing River, Qu River, and Fu River, where it controls and guards these three important waterways. Throughout history, it has been recognized as the “key to Ba and Shu,” referring to the ancient regions of Sichuan. However, it gained widespread fame for its pivotal role during the conflicts between the Song Dynasty and the Mongols.

Covering a total area of 2.5 square kilometers, the fortress sits atop a hill with a length of 1,596 meters from east to west and a width of 960 meters from north to south. Apart from its military significance, Diaoyu Fortress houses numerous ancient temples and is adorned with a wealth of poems, inscriptions, and relief carvings dating back to the Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties. This historical and strategic site stands as a testament to China’s rich cultural heritage and its enduring role in defending its territories.


Table of Contents


Basic Information

Estimated Length of Tour1 day
Ticket Price60 RMB
Opening Hours8.30 – 17.00
ReputationAAAA Tourist Attraction
Telephone Number0086-023-42718788
0086-023-42822763

Location and Transportation

Diaoyu Fortress is situated atop Diaoyu Mountain, on the southern bank of the Jialing River, approximately 5 kilometers northeast of the Chengdong District and 68 kilometers away from the main urban area of Chongqing. To reach Diaoyu Fortress, you can follow these steps:

Arrive in Chongqing City: You can reach Chongqing by air, train, or bus, depending on your point of origin.

Travel to Hechuan District: From various locations within Chongqing, such as Shapingba, Caiyuanba, Longtousi, Nanping, and Chenjiapu, you can find buses that go to Hechuan District.

Take Bus Route 111: Once you’ve arrived in Hechuan District, you can board Bus Route 111, which will take you to the Diaoyu Fortress scenic area.


History of Diaoyu Fortress

The history of Diaoyu Fortress spans several significant events during the Song-Mongol Wars in 13th-century China:

  • Jintianxing Year 3 (1234): The Jin Dynasty collapses, marking the beginning of the Song-Mongol Wars.
  • Jiaxi Year 4 (1240): In October, Taha’i leads Mongol forces to breach the defenses of Sichuan, capturing 20 cities. Sichuan’s security is compromised, and the city of Kuimen faces imminent danger. Emperor Lizong of the Southern Song Dynasty appoints the experienced military leader Yu Jie to oversee Sichuan’s defense.
  • Chunyou Year 3 (1243): In spring, Yu Jie, the Military Affairs Assistant Minister and Governor of Chongqing, adopts the strategic defense concept of “combining fortifications and military administration” proposed by the Ruan brothers, Chen Ren, and Chen Puy. They begin construction on Diaoyu Fortress on Diaoyu Mountain, move the administrative centers of Hezhou and Shizhao County inside the fortress, station troops, stockpile provisions, and gather talented individuals, marking the beginning of a 36-year-long defense of the fortress.
  • Xianzong Year 1 (1251): Möngke Khan ascends to power, intensifying the conflicts around Diaoyu Fortress.
  • Chunyou Year 12 (1252): In February, Wang Jian leads forces to defeat Mongol General Wang Dechen, who leads the 24-route Mongol army. In October, Wang Jian, with elite troops from Diaoyu Fortress, participates in the Battle of Jiading under the command of Yu Jie, breaking the siege of Jiading.
  • Baoyou Year 2 (1254) and Jingding Year 1 (1260): Southern Song commanders Wang Jian and Zhang Jue lead efforts to extensively improve and repair Diaoyu Fortress. They combine river defense with mountain fortifications, inner and outer city defenses, agricultural cultivation, and long-term military defense, making Diaoyu Fortress a formidable military stronghold.
  • Baoyou Year 2 (1254): In June, Wang Jian, Cao Shixiong, and others repel Mongol forces led by Tiege Huluqin and Wang Dechen. In July, Wang Jian is appointed as the Xingyuan Dutsu (military commander) and concurrently the magistrate of Hezhou, becoming the principal commander of Diaoyu Fortress.
  • Xianzong Year 8 (1258): Möngke Khan personally leads his main forces southward in November, heading along the eastern bank of the Jialing River towards Diaoyu Fortress.
  • Xianzong Year 9 (1259): In February, Möngke Khan issues an attack order, officially commencing the major conflict at Diaoyu Fortress. Both sides engage in fierce battles until early April. Continuous heavy rains for 20 days lead to a temporary halt in the Mongol offensive. Emperor Lizong of the Southern Song Dynasty commends the defenders of Diaoyu Fortress and praises Wang Jian as the “crown of all Sichuan mountain cities” for his unwavering defense. Despite this, in June, the Southern Song’s Deputy Governor of Sichuan, Lv Wende, leads over a thousand warships up the Jialing River to reinforce Diaoyu Fortress but is defeated in three consecutive battles by the Mongols. Despite the lack of reinforcements, Diaoyu Fortress remains resilient. In July, the Mongols launch another vigorous assault on the fortress. However, Möngke Khan is struck by a stone and killed, which has a significant impact on the Mongol offensive.
  • Zhongtong Year 1 (1260): After Kublai Khan ascends to the throne, a new policy focused on “building fortifications and besieging the city” is implemented for Diaoyu Fortress.
  • Jingding Year 5 (1264): Diaoyu Fortress’s defender, Zhang Jue, organizes the defense against multiple attacks by Mongol commanders such as Li Hulan and generals like Andong. However, by this time, other cities along the Qu River have gradually fallen to the Mongols.
  • Zhiyuan Year 8 (1271): Kublai Khan changes the dynasty’s name to Yuan and, the following year, establishes the capital in Dadu (present-day Beijing). To support the Yuan army’s assault on Xiangyang, Kublai Khan initiates a diversionary attack on the Southern Song’s mountain fortresses in Sichuan. Apart from a few mountain forts along the river and some counties in eastern Sichuan, the Mongols occupy two-thirds of Sichuan’s territory, putting Diaoyu Fortress under constant pressure.
  • Zhiyuan Year 11 (1274): The Yuan forces capture Xiangyang.
  • Zhiyuan Year 13 (1276): In January, the Yuan forces converge at the Southern Song capital, Lin’an. However, Diaoyu Fortress’s defender, Zhang Jue, continues to launch counterattacks to distract the Yuan forces. In June, Zhang Jue sends Wang Li and others to recapture Luzhou, followed by the reconquest of Kuizhou and Fuzhou. In December, Zhang Jue is appointed as the governor of Chongqing, and the defense of Diaoyu Fortress is entrusted to his subordinate, Wang Li.
  • Zhiyuan Year 14 (1277): By April, Diaoyu Fortress stands as the last remaining stronghold of Southern Song resistance in Sichuan. At this time, Hezhou has experienced two consecutive years of severe drought, resulting in a lack of grain.
  • Zhiyuan Year 16 (1279): In January, the fortress’s defender, Wang Li, surrenders, marking the end of the 36-year-long defense of Diaoyu Fortress.

Highlights of Diaoyu Fortress

Diaoyu Platform

diaoyu platform in diaoyu fortress

Diaoyu Platform, located within Diaoyu Fortress, derives its name from a legendary tale of celestial fishing and is situated on a spacious rocky outcrop. This platform retains numerous artificial marks and signs of long-term use, attesting to its historical significance.

According to local folklore, in ancient times when the rivers’ waters, including the Jialing River, Qu River, and Fu River, overflowed and caused widespread flooding, many refugees sought refuge on this mountain. With no food available on the mountain, the starving refugees were on the brink of death. It is said that during this dire situation, a giant descended from the heavens onto the mountain. The giant stood atop a massive rock with an elongated pole, skillfully catching numerous fresh fish from the turbulent river waters to provide sustenance to the famine-stricken people. This miraculous act allowed thousands of lives to be saved.

In gratitude for the giant’s life-saving benevolence, the people named the massive rock on the mountaintop “Diaoyu Platform,” and the mountain itself came to be known as Diaoyu Mountain.


navy dock in diaoyu fortress

The Navy Dock in Diaoyu Fortress, situated along the banks of the Jialing River at the foot of the front mountain, stands as one of China’s last remaining relics of a Song Dynasty military harbor and river defense fortress. This historical site is of immense significance and provides insight into the military strategies and defenses of that era.

The eastern section of the dock features a natural harbor, designed to accommodate the berthing of naval warships. In contrast, the western section extends towards the riverbank, forming a platform constructed using massive stones. During the 36-year-long defense of Diaoyu Fortress, the defending soldiers and civilians held this Navy Dock, engaging in bloody battles to maintain control over the river and to prevent the formidable Mongol-Yuan forces from advancing downstream along the river.


Relics of Shiguan Gate

relics of shiguan gate in diaoyu fortress

The Shiguan Gate relics in Diaoyu Fortress are situated on an area of approximately 20 square meters with an elevation of around 209 meters. This gate was strategically constructed at a precipitous and strategic location, with steep cliffs surrounding it, rendering it practically impregnable from the front. Access to this gate was primarily via a wooden walkway or gangway. Shiguan Gate served as the passage for entering and exiting on the western side of the outer south wall of the fortress. It held significant importance for both military defense and daily life within the fortress


Huguo Gate

huguo gate in diaoyu fortress

Huguo Gate stands as an iconic structure within Diaoyu Fortress, positioned along the second line of defense in the south of the fortress. Among the eight gates of Diaoyu Fortress, Huguo Gate is the largest and most formidable. The gate’s opening measures 3.24 meters in height, 2.45 meters in width, and has a depth of 6.42 meters. During the fortress’s active defense periods, the garrison and civilians ingeniously created a passage leading to Huguo Gate by excavating stone caves into the steep cliffs in front of the gate, setting up beams and wooden planks, essentially creating a gangway. In times of emergency, the wooden planks on the beams could be rapidly removed, effectively sealing off the passageway, similar to the drawbridges found in ancient gates of northern Chinese cities.


Huguo Temple

huguo temple in diaoyu fortress

Huguo Temple, situated within Diaoyu Fortress, is a notable religious and historical site nestled on the southern slope of the main peak of Diaoyu Mountain, at an elevation ranging from 367 to 386 meters above sea level. This temple complex encompasses an area of approximately 3,500 square meters, and its architectural features are aligned in a north-south orientation. Notably, to the right of the temple lies the ancient relic known as Diaoyu Platform.

Huguo Temple traces its origins back to the Southern Song Dynasty, specifically during the Shaoxing era. Over the centuries, it underwent various renovations and repairs during the Yuan, Ming, and Qing Dynasties. Many of the temple’s existing structures were reconstructed in 1727. Huguo Temple, along with the nearby Diaoyu Platform, bears witness to the rich historical and cultural heritage of Diaoyu Fortress.


Buddha Statues

buddha statues in diaoyu fortress

Diaoyu Fortress is home to a collection of remarkable Buddha statues, each with its own unique historical and artistic significance.

Tang Dynasty Suspended Reclining Buddha: This exquisite sculpture is known for its unique position as a reclining Buddha carved into the cliffside. The Buddha faces south, with its head to the west and feet to the east. It measures 11 meters in length and has a shoulder width of 2.2 meters.

Thousand-Buddha Cave: The Thousand-Buddha Cave is an awe-inspiring feature of Diaoyu Fortress, housing a grand total of 2,775 Buddha statues. These statues are intricately carved into the rock walls and are organized into rows, with each row containing a varying number of Buddha images. T

Three Saints Cliff: Within a concave niche measuring 4 meters in length and 3 meters in width, the cliff hosts three divine figures. The central figure is Amitabha Buddha, flanked by Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva on the left and Mahasthamaprapta Bodhisattva on the right.


Vlog about Diaoyu Fortress


Useful Tips Summarized from Reviews

Purpose of Visit: The main attraction of Diaoyu Fortress lies in its unique terrain and geographical features, offering visitors the opportunity to understand how a small city managed to resist the Mongolian army for 36 years. It’s particularly suitable for history enthusiasts seeking to delve into the historical significance of the fortress.

Accommodation and Dining: Hotels in Hechuan offer affordable prices, and the region boasts a wide variety of Sichuan cuisine. Consider staying in Hechuan and planning a half-day trip to Diaoyu Fortress, along with visits to attractions like Laitan Ancient Town or Deng Xiaoping’s former residence in Guang’an.

Transportation Options: At the entrance of the scenic area, visitors can choose to ascend the mountain on foot or by taking the scenic area’s shuttle bus (priced at 9 yuan). The bus option provides convenience, especially for those preferring a less strenuous approach to reaching the fortress.

Safety Measures: As the mountain trails may be covered with moss, it’s crucial to watch out for slippery surfaces and take precautions to prevent slipping. Wearing appropriate footwear with good traction is advisable.

Mosquitoes: The area is known for the presence of mosquitoes, so remember to bring insect repellent to protect yourself from bites.

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