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Kinmen consists of a group of islands with a subtropical monsoon climate and a hilly terrain made up mostly of granite. It is only 2,100 meters from China at the closest point so on a clear day, one can view China’s territory clearly with high-powered binoculars.
Kinmen can be justly termed "battleground islands," and most of the history of Kinmen originated in war. Everywhere on the islands you can see structures built to accommodate the needs of battle, largely underground tunnels and other structures designed for defense. But the cultural assets of these islands are not inferior to their battlefield aspects. There are as many as 21 government-designated historical sites that provide a rich insight into the folk culture of the old days. Most of the residences there are traditional three-sided courtyard houses of the southern Fujianese style. You can see these simple, rustic homes everywhere, exhibiting rich traces of history.
Although the people of the islands live relatively simple lifestyles, in their religious devotion they take a back seat to nobody; Taoist and Buddhist thought is their spiritual fortress, and they deeply venerate such deities as the City God and Mazu , Goddess of the Sea. Veneration of the Wind Lion, in particular, is a unique feature of the religious structure in Kinmen.
Another attraction is the ceramic factory, which is the only "government kiln" in Taiwan. The products of this factory are especially famous as containers for the special Kinmen “kaoliang”--fiery sorghum spirits--and these containers are treasured as collectors' items by all who like alcoholic drinks. Other ceramic products include duplicates of classic artworks, ceramic paintings, qinghua blue-and-white ceramics, and crystalline glaze pieces, all of which are the favorites of collectors at home and abroad. Foreign visitors to Kinmen are frequently amazed by these exquisite artworks.
Kaoliang spirits, with their crisp, rich flavor, are perhaps the most famous specialties of Kinmen. The aged special-grade kaoliang is frequently hoarded so that the supply sometimes cannot meet demand. Other special products of the islands include tribute candies, Kinmen noodles, and yitiaogen medicinal herbs. The latter product is believed to enrich the blood, eliminate toxins, and alleviate rheumatism.