As early as the Qing Dynasty, Kinmen had been a critical port connecting Southeast Asia.
Successful businesspeople influenced by foreign culture brought home exoticness, which was then integrated into architectural designs.
Buildings constructed back then have been well preserved at the Shanhou Village in Kinmen where visitors wandering through the historic monuments will feel like they’ve traveled back in time.
Located on the northeast corner of Kinmen, Shanhou Village was built in the Qing Dynasty around 1900 during the rein of the Guangxu Emperor.
It used to be the mansion of a wealth family surnamed Wang who did business in Japan. Shanhou Village consists of 16 buildings plus an ancestral hall and school, all of which designed with a mix of Baroque style and traditional Fujian architecture.
The exquisite paintings, carved bricks and stones demonstrate the craftiness of architects decades ago. The well-preserved settlement was the first village in Kinmen opened to visitors, and later became the “Shanhou Folk Culture Village”.
Located on the southwest corner of Kinmen, Shuitou Village is one of the seven important traditional settlements on the island which has the highest number of extravagant western buildings.
Among them, Deyue Tower is the most impressive, built by a business man surnamed Huang, who went traveled to Indonesia for business.
This building is an integration of western and Fujian architecture, with a tower equipped with a defense mechanism. The two-storey Baroque-style mansion, from the mottled beams and pillars sculpture, one can tell the sumptuousness it enjoyed in the past.
The more Pacific-styled mansion in which succeeding generations resided has been remodeled into a themed pavilion by Kinmen tourism agencies.
Built in 1952, some say Juguang Tower is Kinmen’s spiritual fortress.
Overall it took away from traditional Chinese architecture and then placed on top of a modern pedestal, creating an unique archetectural aesthetics.
The tower was constructed to honor the national army in the Battle of Guningtou and convey the spirit of war, making it the most representative landmark for Kinmen during the war.
Kinmen’s most lively commercial block is a 75-meter long street called “Model Street”.
In 1924, Kinmen’s Chamber of Commerce funded and introduced buildings with pedestrian arcades – a then popular style in Southeast Asia.
The exotic designs mixed with a denser Fujian-style architecture have since witnessed the prosperity of Kinmen for nearly a century.