Magong is the biggest and important city in the Penghu (Pescadores) Island chain, with a rich cultural and historical heritage. Among the many historical sights in the city, perhaps some of the most significant are the remains of the ancient wall surrounding the city during the Qing Dynasty, as well as the first military dependents village established by the KMT surrounding these old walls.
Magong Ancient City Wall
The original walls of "Penghu Pang City" or Magong were completed 1889 after the Sino-French War in order to improve Qing defenses in the region. Afterwards, the walled city of Magong became the economic, military, and government center of Penghu.
In 1895 Japan took control of Taiwan. During the Japanese rule, most of the walls were torn down starting in 1905 in order to build the harbor and to conform with city planning (that's right, many of the old walls stood on what is now open harbor water). The South Gate, Minor South Gate, East Gate, and North Gate were destroyed. The only parts of the wall that are left are on the western side, including the Major West Gate and Minor West Gate.
As a side note, the Japanese changed the name of the City from 媽宮 (Magong, meaning mother's palace, probably a reference to the goddess Matsu) to 馬公 (Magong, same pronunciation but meaning Horse Gong).
After the KMT took control of the island, they turned the surrounding area a military base and military dependents village (篤行十字村 Duxingshi Village). The Major West Gate was renamed Chunghsing Gate (中興門） and the Minor West Gate was renamed the Shuncheng Gate （順承門）.
Currently the Chunghsing gate (pictured below) is the entrance to the military base on site, and is the only gate that was built without a tower.
The above photo was taken from here.
How to get there: The gate is on the westernmost part of Zhongshan Road in Magong.
Map: Please refer to the map below.
When I first rode my scooter along Jieshou Road I was surprised to see what seemed to be the city wall hidden behind some trees. Apparently the wall is still used as a barrier between the general public and the military base behind it.
Further down the road is a small park where you can enjoy views of the restored wall.
If you follow the wall along Jieshou Road, you will end up on the other side of Magong and come to Shuncheng Gate, the last remaining gate of the old city. Now it is a prime parking spot, and luckily the cars photographed were all parked legally.
A plaque stating the history of the city walls, and that the restoration work on Shuncheng Gate was completed in 1972.
Some more history given about the walls, for instance they were built low because of the strong winds in Penghu. It also give details of the building materials and techniques, such as basalt rocks that are abundant in Penghu. This plaque was dedicated in 1999.
View to the East from the top of the tower.
View inside the tower.
To the south is a view of the harbor.
After you walk up on the wall from the Shuncheng Gate, you will notice an abandoned village behind it: Duxingshi military dependents village. This is the oldest military dependents village in Taiwan. Currently, the town is being renovated into a tourist attraction. Before the renovation is completed, I took the chance to capture the village in its current state as shown below:
This village was built for KMT dependents after 1949 when they fled to Taiwan, the first KMT military dependents village in Taiwan, one of many to follow.
In 1895, the Japaneses took Magong as part of the Sino-Japanese war, and used the Qing artillery training court as a camp for its soldiers. In 1907, the Japanese built a military base and soldiers quarters that were a precursor to the dependents village. At this time, many wooden Japanese style houses were built around the old walls of Magong.
When the KMT took over, many of the Japanese wooden houses were split in half or in quarters due to the large population of mainland soldiers coming in, and concrete houses were added on.
The village is also famous for being the birthplace of the famous singers Pan Anbang and Chang Yusheng, who wrote hit songs about their birthplace, one of them being "Grandmothers Penghu Bay" by Pan Anbang.
In 2006, the government shut down the village and moved the remaining 78 households to Longxing New Village（龍行新城), an apartment complex in the middle of Magong.
In 2007, the Penghu County government announced a plan to rebuild the village to preserve the local culture and history as well further the development of the area. Currently there have been quite a few houses already restored and made into hostels, novelty shops, etc. However, many houses still lay in ruin waiting to be restored.
How to get there: Ride down Jieshou Raod until you see a big red sign and lots of old houses.
Hours: 8:00 AM-6:00 PM
Map: Please see below.
From the top of the wall, you can see the work being done on the dilapidated village. This pile of rubble appears to be half Japanese (pile of wood) and half KMT (pile of concrete).
This is about as far as you can walk on the old wall. This part of the wall is unkept but seems to be the best preserved.
An air raid shelter just behind the wall in the village.
Some information on the village history. It's probably too small for your screen, so let me quote:
"Among all of the military dependents' villages, Duxingshi Village is the oldest in Taiwan. During the Qing Dynasty, the vicinity was used as the training court for artillery troops. Japanese colonizers designated the area as the command center of the Penghu stronghold and the dormitory complex for its heavy artillery group. The construction style of the buildings is either traditional Japanese architecture or a mixture with Western style. This combination is referred to as "a mixture of Wester-Japanese Style." Sine the accommodation was later allocated to higher ranking official of the KMT government, the Village is also named as "The Village of Higher Officials" (將校眷村）. Transcending from the Qing Dynasty to Japanese colonization and the Rep. of China in Taiwan, the history and abundant stories hidden in Duxingshi Village are definitely worth sampling."
Also this building used to be a horse stable during the Japanese era.
KMT era house in ruins.
What appears to be a fairly new trycicle abandoned in one of the houses.
A converted Japanese era house with KMT add-ons.
A Japanese era wooden house with the roof collapsed.
Just beyond the dependents' village is an ROC military barracks.
A gate through the old Qing wall that was apparently added in during the KMT era. It has no name.
Dilapidated Japanese house under renovation.
A warehouse or Japanese era house renovated with a tin roof that is now destroyed.
Another down trodden Japanese era house.
The sign reads:
"Currently located in Xinfu Village, Magong City, Duxing 10th Village was overseen by the Magong Settlement under the rein of the Qing Dynasty. The settlement was separated into three neighborhoods: East, South, and North. Duxing 10th Village was situated at the Southwest corner of the South neighborhood. During the Qing Dynasty, the location served as a training site for military drills, dump disposal, and burial grounds. During the Japanese occupation period, Japanese colonizers organized Penghu fortress entities within this vicinity and covered the ground by military facilities and dormitories, which over-arched the two sides of the Minor West Gate (Shuncheng Gate) and the Major West Gate (Zhongxing Gate).
Small abandoned house next to the wall.
Behind the Shuncheng gate is a stairway leading down off the wall into the street.
Outside the old walls is where most of the renovations have happened. You can walk down these streets and go back to what the town would have looked like in its prime.
At the entrance of the village is a big red sign reading "母忘在莒" written by Chiang Kai-shek, which basically means "Take back the mainland." On the left is a very well restored Japanese wooden house.
22 Alleys Hotel:
"22-Alleys reserved all the traditional military kindred village and its structure. WE reform the village to a high-quality hotel and unique shops for preserving its culture and residents' memories. In addition to the military kindred village, there are three structures which were built in Japanese colonization period. It's a great stay for guest to learn through experience about village culture. WE provide all kind of room type, nomatter single room to six-people room. IT is one and only hotel which retain valuable village culture!"
Okay, not the best English but you get the idea.
I'm pretty sure that Vespa is just there for decoration.
A map of the renovated village.
Inside you can find tourists buying snacks on the streets and checking out the restored village. I saw that some of the buildings had been converted into hostels, restaurants, and various other shops.
At the end of the village you can see Guanyinting bay and Rainbow Bridge.
Also, I did not visit Jinguitou fort, another historicity fort which is literally right next to where I took this photo. Oh well, another blog for another day, and just another reason to go back to Penghu.
Please like and follow us so that you can see our other blog posts for the rest of our trip to Penghu!
We are US Expats that have extensive experience living and working 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.