AREAS OF POTENTIAL INTEREST FOR WORLD HERITAGE NOMINATIONS

Kinmen's living Southern Fujian culture has been well preserved over the past 1600 years. While Kinmen’s culture is still evolving, it is tightly integrated with the everyday lives of Kinmen residents. Kinmen's culture manifests itself in both intangible (traditions, philosophy, ceremonies, and arts) and tangible forms (buildings, settlements, ancestral shrines, and family temples), all of which are intact and completely preserved. Although the island has suffered through countless wars, a longing for peace and stability has become one of the common people's basic beliefs. The defense systems established by civilian and government authorities, the cultural and educational facilities, the religious beliefs, and talismans all serve as manifestations of the people's longing for peace and stability.


A preliminary investigation shows that Kinmen Military Site and Settlements satisfies criteria (ii) and (iii) for inclusion on the World Heritage list. Seven areas of potential interests have been chosen up to now; after further investigation, addition and revisions are possible.

  • Qionglin Settlement— the most completely preserved Southern Fujian traditional settlement in Kinmen
    Qionglin village is located in the center of greater Kinmen island, at the foot of Taiwu Mountain in a place formerly called “Pinglin.” In both the Song and Ming dynasties, Qionglin was administered as part of the 18 towns called Qiongshan Bao in Xiang Feng Village, on the eastern side of Suide Township, Tongan County. From 1621 to 1627 (during the reign of Ming Emperor Xizong) the area was admired by a member of the local gentry named CAI Xianchen, who was known as a witty intellect in the Southern China; hence, the emperor graciously granted the name “Qionglin” to this village. According to the Cai Clan genealogical records, Cai’s family moved to Fujian from the North early in the Five Dynasties period (907-960), then to western Tongan County, and finally to Xukeng in Wu Zhou (present day Kinmen). His descendant CAI Shiqilang married into the Chen family in Pinglin through CHEN Shiwugong. Their offspring are thought to be the founding generation of the Cai Clan in Qionglin. However, for the first five generations, the Cais were not prolific enough; some only produced a single child, and some became monks. It wasn’t until the fifth generation that CAI Jingshan had four sons; the eldest one, Lord Zhuxi and the second son, Lord Yuepu, stayed in Qionglin and laid a solid foundation for the Cai clan in Qionglin. Of all the 170 temples and shrines in Kinmen, a large number of Cai clan shrines and ancestral halls in the area are of great refinement. A dense cluster of ancestral shrines and halls, called “Seven halls and eight shrines” is registered on the list of National monuments. The area around the clan shrines is separated into locally observed territorial divisions (such as Dacuojia, Dazhaijia, Louzaixia, Kengqianjia, Dongpuding, and Puzaiding).

  • Zhushan Settlement: laid out in accordance with Chinese feng shui principles, forming an ideal settlement based on Southern Fujian tradition

    It has been over 650 years since a man named XUE Zhengu, who crossed the sea in search of refuge, settled in Zhushan Village, Wu Delta Island (present day Kinmen) in 1345. Zhushan village used to be called “Xue Chuo Keng”; in the middle of the 17th century, some clan members moved to Neian on Siyu (“Western Island,” the “Fishermen’s Island” west of Penghu), and some emigrated to Southeast Asia (the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia) in the 19th and 20th centuries, and their remittances set off an expatriate-fueled economic boom. When they eventually returned to Kinmen, they also built magnificent houses and buildings, such as xiashanluo (a composite of three linked of houses) and Daifudi (the residence compound for imperial officials). In 1937, when the Second Sino-Japanese War broke out, Kinmen was occupied by Japanese troops and remittances were interrupted. In 1949, when the Nationalist army was first stationed in Kinmen, civilian houses were used as temporary barracks. During the 823 Artillery Bombardment (The Second Taiwan Strait Crisis in 1958), Zhushan settlement was seriously damaged, and it took a long time until it was restored. Overall, the settlement is shaped like an upside-down bowl, “four streams flowing into a pond,” as local geomancers put it. The main shrine and a large pond are in the center of Zhushan settlement, with buildings and houses arranged in orderly fashion along the gentle slopes. The area to the left of the shrine is called the “major division”, and the area to the right is called the “minor division.” Zhushan is one of the seven traditional settlements in Kinmen. Its appearance has remained basically intact, with cultural activities continuing to this day, a place well worth preserving.



  • Shuitou Settlement: a large settlement which is an attractive and harmonious blend of Southern Fujian and diaspora cultures

    Shuitou settlement was established in 1315 (Yuan Dynasty). Its current scale is based on development after the Qianlong period (1735-1796, Qing dynasty). A local merchant named Huang made his fortune doing business in Hangzhou and Jinzhou in China. His contributions led to a thriving village economy and the restoration of shrines, houses, and manors. The garden mansion he built in the central division of the settlement, called “Youtang,” is the only architectural ensemble that features a simple but elegant design of a villa surrounded by gardens and ponds.
    After the Opium Wars and the opening of Xiamen, China as a commercial port, a large number of people emigrated to Southeast Asia, especially Indonesia. Remittances sent back to Kinmen via xinhuiju, a private banking system, were used for the construction of western-style houses and buildings and the establishment of Jinshui Elementary School (now known as Gucheng Elementary School). Unlike most other settlements, where residents bear the same last name, Shuitou Settlement is one of the few settlements in Kinmen where people with different last names reside. Shuitou Settlement is divided into four zones, the upper zone, the central, the lower, and the rear zone. There are four clan shrines, three for the Huang clan and one for the Li clan, and three temples: Jinshui, Cihui, and Lingji. The two most famous residential compounds were built during the Qianlong period (Qing dynasty). The first, called Shiba Zhiliang (“18 beams”), consists of nine houses, each with two courtyards; the other compound, called “Deyue,” features a western-style architectural design mixed with Southern Fujian settlement traditions: both compounds are rich in local characteristics.



  • Shanhou Settlement: an ideal settlement that integrates modern planning with traditional feng shui principles
    This is an emigrant village, formed in the late Qing dynasty covering 15,000 square meters. Members of the Wang family, who had been living here for generations, went to Japan for business and achieved financial success. On their return to Kinmen, they built and restored houses and buildings for their clan members, a project which took 25 years to complete, from 1876 to 1900 (2nd ~ 26th year of the Guangxu period)). All together there are 18 traditional manors and mansions, including the Wang clan shrine and a private school called“Haizhu Hall,”all of which are well preserved, with the original designs still visible. The folk culture village founded here has become a well-known tourist venue. Some houses are currently undergoing restoration and will be converted into shops or residential homes after the revitalization and reuse process.

  • Guningtou Settlement: a traditional settlement resolutely sharing space with a battlefield
    Located in the northwest corner of Kinmen island, this is the area where the Battle of Guningtou fought, now a memorial with points of interests such as Kuningtou Cliff and the Kuningtou War Museum. In addition, settlements in the North and South Mountains, and heritage monuments such as the Zhenwei Manor and the Watertail Tower in Gulongtou are situated here. Furthermore, the Cihu Lake Scenic Area, an area abounding in avian natural resources, is a winter sanctuary for many species of migratory birds.
    During the 1949 and 1958 offensives, the Guningtou traditional settlement is the area that suffered the most severe damage. The surviving traditional and western-style buildings and civil defense facilities reflect the tenacious will to survive of people caught in the shadow of war. The natural and ecological conservation area surrounding the village demonstrates Kinmen’s dedication to the mission of sustainable conservation.

  • Houpu Township Core Area: The political and economic center of Kinmen for over 300 years
    The Houpu Township Core Area started when the Qing government set up a general military office in 1682. In this area one finds temples for worshipping many deities, a shrine for commemorating the great scholar Zhu Xi, the Kuixing Pavilion, various Guan Yu temples, a City God temple, clan shrines for the Chen and Wang clans, and even Christian churches. With the development of commerce, this area offers shopping blocks, bazaars influenced by emigrants returning from Southeast Asia, and the famous Mofan Street (“Model Street” worthy of emulation), where the “Five foot ways“ construction feature of the buildings originates from Southeast Asia. In addition to these, there are numerous former residences and manors of celebrities and the local gentry, and quite a few chastity arches. The quaint and charming streets, alleys and blocks are perfect examples of the organic transformation of traditional market spaces that has occurred since the Qing Dynasty. Bomb shelters next to people’ houses and an underground tunnel that measures as much as one kilometer in length reveal the unique historical context of people whose lives were impacted by war.

  • Zhaishan Tunnel: A complete and unique military defense system
    The tunnel, located near the southwest tip of Kinmen, is an underground waterway with an A-shaped layout. Excavation for this approximately 367 meter long military facility started in 1961 and took five years to complete. During wartime, the tunnel served as a beachhead to allow resupply ships to dock inside. On entering the tunnel, visitors cannot fail to be impressed by the scale of this site. Leaning over the recently installed railing and looking at the reflection on the water, one realizes the enormous sacrifices that must have gone into the building of this magnificent structure. After restoration and cleaning by the Kinmen National Park Authority, the Zhaishan Tunnel was officially opened to the public in July, 1988.

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