Traditional architecture in Kinmen, Taiwan

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Taiwan Strait Islands

The very existence of Taiwan’s outlying islands comes as a surprise to many foreign visitors, although the three main archipelagos are rapidly growing as domestic tourist destinations. Attractions include traditional villages, beaches, birdwatching, marine life and, in Kinmen and Matsu, a plethora of intriguing ex-military sights. Both Kinmen and Matsu lie far closer to mainland China than they do to Taiwan itself, and for decades – until relations thawed between Taipei and Beijing – both island groups were effectively strings of defensive strongholds. Ironically, despite suffering years of bombardment, much traditional domestic architecture survived as the non-military economy was stagnant and many Fujianese-style houses were simply left while their owners sought safety elsewhere.


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