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Local Cultural Centers
South part of Nanpanshan, Jinmencheng, Gucheng Village
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Wentai Pagoda is located at the south end of Nanpanshan, former Jincheng, Gucheng Village, Jincheng Township, Kinmen County, a solid five-story tower built of granite. In 1387, Zhou Dexing, duke of Jiangxia, was ordered to resist the Japanese pirates at Wuzhou (present-day Kinmen), and he built three pagodas, Wentai being the only one that remained of his grand constructions.
After the mid-14th century, the power of the Japanese government declined and pirates, growing increasingly desperate, began operating along the coast of China. This caused difficulties for the Ming government, who strengthened coastal protection to combat the problem. Zhou Dexing, duke of Jiangxia, was stationed at Wuzhou, where a protection qianhusuo was established and the city of Kinmen constructed, along with five camps at Fengshang, Tianpu, Guan'ao, Chenkeng, and Lieyu, established to surround and protect Kinmen. Three pagodas were built at Kinmen - Reflection Pagoda at Taiwushan, Maoshan Pagoda at Maoshan, and Wentai Pagoda at Nanpanshan. Reflection Pagoda is across from Haiyinyan, where Haiyin Temple Shimenguan, another of Kinmen's historical sites, is located. It is 7 stories high, features the words "Towering Peak of Literature" carved on the roof, and was once one of the 12 attractions of Taiwushan. Unfortunately, it collapsed during a large earthquake in 1918.
Maoshan Pagoda is located on the west side of the old city of Kinmen and the south side of Maoshan, Shuitou Village. Maoshan is also known as Jinguishan, probably due to two huge boulders next to the coast which strongly resemble large turtles. One appears to be entering the sea from the mountain, and is called "wading turtle," while the other has partially emerged from the water coming ashore, and is called "wading ashore turtle." In 1958, during the 823 Artillery War, Maoshan formed a barrier against Houpu and Maoshan Pagoda was taken down for being too conspicuous a target.
Wentai Pagoda features a hexagonal layout with a foundation and five stories, each of which is built of stone slabs arranged in a short and long pattern. Protruding slabs form the eaves, which are separate, and the tower as a whole grows smaller and more pointed as it goes up. The highest story is a simple pointed top, and beneath the eaves is a stone slab engraved with the words "Shining Kuixing," although the characters have been mostly rubbed away over time. Beneath "Shining Kuixing" is a square stone engraved with an image of "Kuixing Pointing at the Dipper." The pagoda derives its name from the fact that Kuixing is the deity of scholars, who worship the distant being to ensure a good career, thus giving the name "Wentai," or "literary tower." The pagoda offers expansive views overlooking the sea, leading Chen Hui, a Baihu officer of the Ming dynasty, to engrave the words "calm lakes and seas" here. Of Kinmen's three pagodas, only Wentai was built on a large rock, offering visitors a great climb.