Siyu East and West forts are some of the best preserved fortifications in Taiwan dating back to the Ming Dynasty. They provide a rich history of the many invasions of Taiwan throughout the ages. Currently they are open to the public if you can get yourself over to the west side of Penghu.
How to Get there:
The easiest way to get there is to take a car or scooter from Magong to the very southernmost part of Siyu (Xiyu, or Fisher) Island.
Siyu East Fort: 8:00 AM to 5:30 PM, closed on holidays
Siyu West Fort: Open all day every day!
Siyu East Fort: Free!
Siyu West Fort: 30 NT per adult, 15 NT for students and seniors
Map: Please see below:
Siyu East Fort
Siyu East fort is kind of on its own next to a military base on the southeastern most point of Siyu island. There is a small parking lot in front, and you can roam around freely with no need to pay for admission.
The Siyu East fort was built in repsonse to the Sino-French War to build better fortifications in the area. The fort was finished in 1889 and saw action in the First Sino Japanese War, and was later used by the Japanese and KMT before being calssified as a historical site in 1992.
From the parking lot, you can see a military base to the north which is not open to the public. It's sad because the Shinyo Suicide Boat Tunnels dating from the Japanese Era that lay on the base would make a great tourist destination.
The main entrance to the fort. It was freaking hot when we went, so be prepared if you go there during the summer.
The sign says:
"This battery is one of the four batteries in Penghu that were built in 1887 after Liu Mingchuan sent Admiral Wu Hongluo, who was promoted to Chief General to Penghu to investigate the terrains. This battery is surrounded by two ramparts and a trench outside. On the side facing the sea are three emplacements equipped with 7-inch, 8-inch, and 10-inch Armstrong BL guns. Sealed in layers of cement used to build emplacements, the parapet contains rows of holes to store shells. Behind the terraces between emplacements are an ammunition dept, vaulted masonry camps and barracks. 'Fisher Island East Batter' is written on the arched entrance to the batter."
A view of the front entrance. Appearently the original gate was blasted away by French cannonballs, hence the scattered bricks on either side.
A view from inside the fort.
View looking south from on top of the fort.
There are three main cannon platforms, but the cannons themselves are long gone.
To the east you can see the rusted remains of another canon platform and ammunition depot.
Siyu West Fort
At the entrance to Siyu east for is a free visitors center with some nice A/C.
Siyu West fort was built in at the end of the Ming Dynasty in 1683, and then rebuilt again in 1717, 1883, and 1889. In 1983 it was listed as a historical monument.
History of the Penghu Fire beacons explained on the wall.
The Penghu Islands were historically an important strategic position for trade and military defense in the area. The Dutch, French, and Japanese all led campaigns against these islands. The Dutch first invaded Penghu in 1622, but soon after retreated to Anping after a treaty was made with the Ming Dynasty.
Konxinga later took control of Penghu and Taiwan after defeating the Dutch in 161, Later, Kongxinga's kingdom fell to the Qing Dynasty.
In 1885 during the Sino-French war for control of Vietnam, the French sent as fleet to Taiwan, but failed to take the island. Later they attacked the Penghu Islands and occupied them for a short time, before retreating to Vietnam due to the Treaty of Tianjin.
After Japan took control of Korea in 1894, they also attacked and occupied Penghu in 1895, after which the Qing Dynasty ceded the islands to them.
After World War II, the islands were given to the ROC government, who retreated to Taiwan after the Chinese Civil war and still control the islands today under a free democratic government.
Throughout history, more military fortifications have been built on Siyu than on any other island in Penghu.
Other military artifacts you can see, such as the Waian Battery, Waian Fake Cannon, Siyu Western Battery, Shinyo Suicide Boat Tunnels, Xiyu Main Arsenal.
The sign says:
"Xiyu Western Fort, a national historic site, sits at the boundary of Neian and Waian villages in Penghu's Xiyu Township. on an elevation overlooking the sea. the fort was originally built as a Waizhan Battery at the end of the Ming Dynasty, enlarged during the Kangxi reign (1662-1722) of the Qing Dynasty, and finally rebuilt again in 1883.
After the end of the Qing-French War in 1885, governor Liu Mingchuan was ordered to procure cannon and build fort. The original Waizhan battery was dismantled in 1887 and replaced by Xiyu Western Fort. It was the westernmost and most powerful fort in the Penghu Islands.
The emplacement faces to the south, over the sea, and was equipped with four British Armstrong breech-loading canons: one 12-inch, two 10-inc and one six-inch. The fort was designed a national historic site in 1983."
Before you go in, make sure you buy a ticket!
First Class Historic Site -West Island Western Terrace -
"The plan of the battery is rectangular, with internal and external glacis around it, at the entrance to the battery are two vaulted gateways, with the Chinese inscribed on a plaque. Inside the battery are an officer's offices, barracks, and two ammunition dumps. To either side of the officers' offices were 13 rooms, including officer's quarters, offices, and kitchens, however they now no longer exist."
The main entrance to the fort.
View from the inside looking at one of the main cannons.
The only way to get over to the cannons is to walk up some steps on the back entrance of the fort.
A small shed with some old ammunition!
The 12 inch gun to the right of the fort. These three cannons cost about 130,000 pounds at the time.
Some more information about the cannons on the ground that is very hard to read, sorry.
Made by the Brits to fight the French.
The smaller six inch gun to the right of the fort.
Rusted gun track around the perimeter.
Past the many coats of paint on these things, you can tell they they are indeed vary old and rusty. Too bad they could not stop the Japanese from taking over the islands later on.
Thanks for reading! Be sure to like and follow to see more of our adventures in Penghu!
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.