Deyue Gun Tower in Shuitou Village was once the highest building in Kinmen, originally built by a wealthy merchant to defend against pirates and thieves. The intricately decorated tower and surrounding buildings were also a sign of wealth and power to the rest of the island. It is one of the most visited attractions on the island, and guided tours are offered daily.
Deyue Tower was built in 1931 by a wealthy trader in Shuitou Village, Huang Hui-huang, by architect Chen Nan-An at a price of 13,000 Silver Yuan. Chen Nan-an also built a mansion for Huang Huihang which sits behind the tower. Mr. Huang was a wealthy trader throughout Indonesia and Southeast Asia, and so he was a target for theft. The island had a problem with constant pirate raids, so protective measures needed to be put in place.
The tower was meant to be able to have a good view of Shuitou Pier, where most of the pirate attacks originated.
During Taiwan's martial law period, Deyue Tower and the surrounding mansions wereoccupied by KMT troops and used as a defensive outpost in case of invasion.
From what I can tell, the tower appears to have never seen any real action, but it certainly worked as a deterrent to pirates and thieves in the area.
How to get there:
From Kincheng, take Xinhai Raod Sec. 1 south to Shuitou village. The tower will be hard to miss.
Hours: 8:30 AM -5:00 PM every day.
Free Guided Tour Times: daily at 09:00、10:00、11:00、14:00、15:00、16:00
Map: Please see below:
Deyue Tower is one of the most prominent buildings in Kinmen, so it is not easy to miss, especially from anywhere inside Shuitou Village.
There is a carved sign explaining Deyue Tower as follows:
Deyue Tower gets it name from the idiom: "進水樓合先得月" literally “The tower close to the water will obtain the moon first" which means those with good connections will be promoted first.
Built in 1931, 11.26 meters tall, with walls 40 cm thick, and with one underground room and 4 levels above ground, it was the tallest building in Kinmen in its time. It was built by the wealthy tradesman Huang Huihang, who became rich due to trade with Indonesia. It took 13,000 yuan to build.
After the Kinmen National Park was established in 1995, it took many years to refurbish these buildings. They were listed as historical buildings in 2003, and the reconstructions and refurbishment was finished in 2007, costing 10,070,000 TWD. These costs were covered by Kinmen National Park, the Kinmen County Cultural Bureau as well as the local residents of Shuitou Village.
The original name stone with three words : De Yue Tower 得月樓
A gun turret with iron plate protection.
Another gun turret with the 12 pointed ROC star. This tower was built when the ROC still controlled mainland China. The 12 points represent 12 months in a year.
Another concealed gun turret.
An open gun turret. I'm not sure if the original gun turret fell off or if it was originally designed this way.
Security camera and wires on top of the tower.
Another gun turret with the 5 pointed plum blossom, the national flower of the ROC. The flower is resilient in cold weather, an example for the Chinese people to follow.
Another iron plated gun turret. I'm not sure how they could see out of this while shooting.
Two other gun turrets further down the building. The only way to get up the tower is by climbing up wooden ladders. During an attack, the wooden ladders could be pulled up to prevent attackers from infiltrating the tower.
Gun turret facing the south.
Check out our drone footage of Deyue tower and Shuitou Village in the above video! There is an airport nearby so we made sure to fly under 60 meters as per Taiwan FAA regulations.
I waited around at 2:00 Pm for the tour guide to show up but no one came. I'm not sure where the tour starts but I am sure that they do not take you into the tower. However, I am sure the tour will tell you more about the history of the village and the mansions next to the tower. Hopefully you'll have better luck catching the tour than we did!
Thanks for reading! More of our adventures in Kinmen will follow soon.
We are US Expats that have extensive experience living, working, and travelling in Taiwan. In our day, we had to learn many things about Taiwan the hard way. But we have come to learn that Taiwan is one of the best places in the world for Foreigners to live. Our blog does not represent the opinions of every foreigner in Taiwan. We are just trying to help others learn more about this beautiful country.