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Gansu, China
Buzi locations.png
Locations of some Buzi in Tianshui and Dingxi prefectures
Type Defensive line
Coordinates Latitude:
Built Qin dynasty, Dungan Revolt
Rammed earth, loess earth
In use Qin dynasty, Song dynasty, Qing dynasty, Dungan Revolt Sino-Japanese War
Simplified Chinese 堡子
Traditional Chinese 堡子
Literal meaning "Dwarf fort"
金牛河畔 - panoramio

Loess Plateau landscape near Tongwei County seat

Buzi are a large number of small forts in southern Gansu province, China, usually round or oval and build out of rammed earth walls. The forts are built on hilltops around nearby villages. Most forts are located in Tianshui (over 500) and Dingxi prefectures, totalling over 1400 forts. One of the densest concentration of forts is Tongwei County, which has the nickname "thousand forts county" (千堡之县). Qin'an County is home to three larger castles.[1]

Although each fort may not be impressive on its own, the combined defence line of forts has been compared to the Great Wall of China.[1]


Although some of the forts date back to the Qin dynasty, they have been used as late as the Sino-Japanese war. During the Dungan Revolt, villagers sought refuge from the raiding and fighting in these forts, and new forts were even constructed with the same methods.[1] As of now, most of the forts lie abandoned, partly due to the difficulty of reaching the hilltops. The courtyards of some forts have filled by farmhouses or Taoist temples.

The defenders inside the forts varied, with some larger forts being permanently manned by trained military, smaller ones were just refuge places for villagers from nearby.


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