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Qinbi Village

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The village of Qinbi is also known as “A Mediterranean town on the Taiwan Straits.” Yet another name for the village is Jingao, or “mirror harbor,” derived from the crystal-clear waters of its bordering sea. The present name means “rice pile wall,” because from Turtle Island just offshore it resembles a pile of rice against the mountain slope behind it.

Qinbi has the best-preserved eastern Fujian-style buildings in all of Matsu, and it is much favored by local and foreign architectural, cultural, and artistic circles. It was originally developed in the late Qing Dynasty by family named Chen from Fujian Province. The granite houses are stepped up the steep mountain, one orderly level above another.

The finest workmanship is seen in a house built during World War II by the director of the Beigan unit of the Peace and National Salvation Army, a man named Chen Zhong-ping. Today, it is called “Pirate’s House.” In early times the villagers lived by catching and processing dried baby shrimp.

When the local fishery declined in the 1980s most of them moved away to greener pastures and Qinbi deteriorated. In 1997 the idea of preserving the village took hold, and the closely packed houses were restored one after another. Today the old mountainside village, together with the neighboring sea and Turtle Island, exudes a pleasant classic beauty that makes it Matsu’s foremost tourist attraction.