Criterion (ii): exhibit an important interchange of human values, over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town-planning or landscape design.

Over the past 1600 years, Kinmen has suffered from the constant threat of war. Based on the strength of kinship ties and religious faith, Kinmen has evolved a multifaceted culture whose rich mix of Southern Fujian culture, emigrant contributions and military legacy provide concrete evidence of the strength and authenticity of basic values of striving for peace when faced with the constant threat of war.

Kinmen features 130 settlements centered around clan shrines, over 170 ancestral shrines and over 280 temples. The cultural landscape formed by these building ensembles give rise to Kinmen's distinctive aura. Preliminary investigations indicate that there are 6 potential sites (Qionglin, Shuitou, Zhushan, Shanhou, Guningtou, and Houpu) as well as a military site named Zhaishan Tunnel.

Altogether there are six settlements and one tunnel, all of which exemplify the spirit and faith that people have upheld over the past 1600 years. Although the people of Kinmen have suffered from the constant threat of war at different periods in history, they struggled to make a good living, maintained tight family and clan ties, and their longing for peace never died. Through a wide variety of activities, Kinmen's living Southern Fujian culture has continually developed. The traditional values observed by Kinmen's residents are well preserved and practiced in their everyday lives.

Criterion (iii): bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared.

Kinmen has a rich history of Southern Fujian culture, a living cultural system which is still evolving through its architecture, commercial activities, spiritual beliefs, and language. Kinmen Island carries on history by preserving the common people’s beliefs and customs. Traditional buildings and settlements serve as carriers of this wealth of intangible heritage. Such a complete and living culture in today’s world is rare and quite precious.

  1. Traditional Settlements are laid out in grid-like patterns to accord with feng shui principles and clan customs; space in the main settlements is organized by order of seniority; water sources and the production fields are arranged in close proximity; all of these arrangements have been preserved and maintained for centuries.
  2. Traditional Southern Fujian Architecture: A large number of traditional buildings are preserved in Kinmen; a distinctive type of red-brick building made with local materials developed. The system of traditional artisans and techniques has been preserved; the system provides the support that local people need to continue living in these traditional buildings and houses.
  3. Western style buildings:  At the end of the Qing Dynasty, to avoid instability and hardship, many people chose to go overseas to make a living. When they made their fortunes overseas, they either remitted money from abroad, or came back to construct Western-style buildings or houses with Southeast Asian characteristics. These buildings are a witness to the period of expatriate culture appearing in Kinmen from the end of 19th century to the beginning of the 20th.
  4. Language and Customs: Kinmen maintains a pure form of Southern Min dialect, production methods, business customs, seasonal festivals, ceremonies, drama and entertainment. These can be seen everywhere, intimately bound up with the lives of the common people of Kinmen.
  5. Religion and rituals: Traditional Southern Fujian culture in Kinmen originates from the Hoklo traditions from Mainland China; since its transplantation to Kinmen, it has blended in with local evolved customs and is reflected by nature worship activities, such as those for the Spirit Lion Statues, stone tablets or steles (Shigandang) , water tail towers (Shuiweita), and soul worship activities, such as worshipping the Goddess of the Sea (Matsu), city gods (Chenghuang), the Baosheng Emperor, as well as belief in Buddhist deities, Taoist saints and other forms of polytheism.

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