The Ancient City of Kinmen (Quemoy) is one of the most historically rich places in Kinmen and in Taiwan. Not to be confused with Kincheng (the largest city in Kinmen) this walled city was built in the 1300's during the Ming Dynasty as a defense for the region, a role that it has played throughout its history. Although most of the original gates and walls have been destroyed, all of the citiy's four gates have recently been rebuilt. Walking through these ancient streets you can feel hundreds of years of history speaking to you.
This city was originally constructed at the time of the Hongwu Emporer during the Ming Dynasty in 1387, and was originally called the Kinmen Guard City of 1000 Households (金門守禦千戶所城). The city was damaged in the fight between Kongxia and the Qing Dynasty in 1680, but was later repaired. However the Qing military headquarters of Kinmen were later moved to Houpu, which meant the city was left to ruin. When the ROC retreated to the island in 1949, they tore down what remained of the walls for other uses, leaving only parts of the foundations.
In1997 thanks to donations from the Kinmen Kaoliang Liquor Inc. at the south of the city, the Kinmen Government was able to rebuild the ancient gates of Kinmen City.
How to get there:
By Car/Scooter: Take Xihai Road Sec. 2 to Shuitou Village, then turn left onto Zhushui Road. You will drive right through the city!
Map: Please see below.
I did not plan on visiting this ancient city, I just happened upon it by accident on the way to Wentai Tower. However I think these gates and walls are more historically significant than Wentai Tower.
North Gate 北門
The first gate I came across was the North Gate, the most recently renovated gate in the city.
A sign with an explanation of the gate. Also, an abandoned car is parked out front.
The recently built walls that come out of the north gate abruptly end on the other side.
An airplane passing super close while we were on the wall.
Inside the north gate.
Dragon ornament in the window at the north gate.
Ming Yi Old Street 明遺老街
View of the ancient village beyond the north gate known as Min Yi Old Street. Here you can find several very old homes and a museum about the ancient city.
Map of the old city with red lines where the old walls once were.
"It was called Kinmen Defense City for the sea defense in Ming Dynasty, a military fortress built by ZhouDexin of Jiangxian Governer. The main purpose is the defense from invasion of Japanese pirates. Since the beginning of Ming Dynasty, it had been the major place of commerce and military affairs in Kinmen. It did not decline until Kangxi period in Qing Dynasty. The nearby scenes are Kinmen Liquor Brewery, which is famous around the world, old streets built in Ming Dynasty, and Wentai Tower. In winter, the sea exit of the brewery attracts thousands of exotic birds."
A very ancient and abandoned house.
Gu Di Cheng Huang Temple 古地城隍廟
Gu Di Cheng Huang temple is the oldest temple in the city, dedicated to the God of the moat that surrounded and protected the city. It was built at the same time of the city itself during the Ming Dynasty.
The temple has two parts that face each other. The temple was left to decay after the Ming Dynasty, but was rebuilt in the Qing Dynasty, and then remodeled recently.
South Gate 南門
The south gate next to the Kinmen Kaoliang Liquor factory, which is open for tours from 8 AM - 5 PM. We did not tour the factory on this trip.
Closeup of the gate which is totally a rebuilt structure thanks to funds by the liquor factory.
Wentai Tower 文台寶塔
This tower (aka Wentai Pagoda) was also built during the Ming dynasty in 1387 AD as a landmark for ships passing by, kind of like a lighthouse, as well as for defense purposes. The stone has an inscription written by Chen Hui who was a scholar during the Ming Dynasty.
An ROC bunker right next to the tower. This entire island is just a giant bunker. No wonder the CCP couldn't take the island.
Another view of Wentai Tower. This island also has two other towers： Maoshan Tower and Daoying Tower.
History of Kinmen City and its renovation which was completed in 2007.
Another rebuilt section of the wall on the eastern part of the city.
East Gate 東門
The Eastern Gate, totally modern and passable by any vehicle.
Liang Hill Trail 梁山觀止步道
Another nice place in the city is the Liang hill trail, which is just behind the city walls. There are nice views of the city and the surrounding ocean-side scenery. We didn't have time to hike to whole thing.
West Gate 西門
The last gate I found was the West Gate. It sits out in the middle of nowhere and is kind of hard to find unless you are looking.
That time we went, midterms were approaching and these flags were everywhere.
Thanks for reading! See you next time! JK this is a blog not a talk show.
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.