WIT Press

Transforming From A Cold War Military Heritage Site Into A New Tourist Destination: The Case Of Matsu Archipelago


Free (open access)





Page Range

207 - 218




1,601 kb

Paper DOI



WIT Press


C.-C. Fu


The Matsu Archipelago, located northwest of the Taiwan Strait, is geographically adjacent to the Chinese Mainland and politically governed by the Taiwan Government. The unstable and uncertain era of the early 1950s included threats from Communist China to Taiwan. In the 1950s, Matsu began attract international attention during two Taiwan Strait Crises, in which guns and cannons from the Chinese Mainland blasted Kinmen and Matsu for weeks. Consequently, the Nationalist Government in Taiwan began to reinforce Matsu as a military stronghold even though the second crisis had already ended. The government constructed various types of military facilities to prevent potential invasion of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army. The US government confirmed the role of Matsu Archipelago as a Pacific Ocean stronghold against communism during the Cold War when the Korea War broke out. High-density military facilities and installations such as underground tunnels and strongholds have formed a special cultural landscape in Matsu. Beginning in the early 1990s, Matsu began to develop in a unique manner. First, on May 11, 1994 Matsu was removed from serving as a military frontline. Second, Matsu was designated as a national scenic area in 1999, and in 2009, the Taiwan government chose the military cultural landscape as a World Heritage potential site. When the War Zone Administration Committee of Matsu finally ended, Matsu returned to civilian administration operation. However, after cleaning up the environment, the people in Matsu realized that the frontline atmosphere echoed in the many nearby abandoned military installations is a precious resource for the islands. Hence, a new role for Matsu was envisioned in its interaction with both domestic and foreign tourists. This study investigates transformation of the island when increasingly more military forces are


Matsu, cold war, military heritage