Journey One / Chapter 19


February 2016

Matsu, an archipelago of several small islands that politically belongs under Taiwan, yet located just few kilometres away from mainland china, has been of utmost strategical value since the beginning of Chinese Civil War.

Matsu in ancient chinese folk religions is a goddess of the sea, protector of sailors, seamen and fishers. The archipelago, divided into 5 areas, is named after this goddess. Cult of Matsu is very strong on the islands, with statues, shrines and temples of the goddess located in great numbers around these few tiny isles.

In addition to strong following of folk religions, fishing and winemaking, Matsu is known as very strategic piece of land for Taiwan. While Taiwanese government is managing the islands, they are located just few miles off the coast of Mainland China , with Fuzhou being the closest city. The island is covered in military outposts, forts, defence and cavern systems of various kinds since the beginning of Chinese civil war. While many of the forts and caverns are now defunct and open to the public and tourists, there are still many active military outposts, as the civil war never officially ended.

I have came to Matsu from chinese Fuzhou with a quick ferry, travelled around 2 largest islands of Nangan and Beigan. and then continued to main Taiwan island with yet another ferry few days later.