Matsu: A Former Military Zone in Peace and a Fortress on the Sea
Because of the war between two sides of Taiwan Strait, Matsu used to live by fishing but transformed from fishing villages into a military stronghold after 1949. Blocked for public view for decades, its mission of being a stronghold was suspended in 1992, and started opening for public visit since 1994. Fortresses were scattered around the island, there were sentries, slogans, tunnels, forts, and soldiers jamming the island, constituting the battlefield scene. After its opening, it has attracted waves of military fans visiting the area.
Matsu, as an ex-battlefield, cultivates special charm. With the exception of Gaodeng and Liang Islands that are still closed to the public, the other places, including the four townships and five islands have been opened consecutively. To preserve the history in that period, Mt. Da'ao was transformed into the War and Peace Memorial Park, presenting the epitome of history of Matsu as a battlefield there for people to learn more about the past.
To the people on either side of Taiwan Strait, Matsu has a touch of mystery. This may come from its military past or from the confrontation and estrangement between both sides across time and space.
Unveiled in 2010 and situated in the War and Peace Memorial Park, the exhibition center boasts views of Chinese coastlines across the strait on clear days. The center takes the theme of “touching memories,” and it is divided into the following areas: Origin, A Military Chronicle, Military Supplies, and Military and Civilian Culture. During the military control period, the public was not allowed to have cameras. Only the army could take photos. This makes the photos on display all the more precious. Through words and images, the center encourages visitors to imagine the hardships of the residents here during the war.
Photos | Wang Yu-Ren