Old Wen Tai Pagoda文台古塔


Old Wei Tai Pagoda(1) is located on the southeast side of Jinmenchen (also called Old Jinchen). It's a five-storied hexagonal(2) construction made of granite and was built in the Ming dynasty in 1387, over 600 years ago. The pagoda has been rated a second class national historic relic.(3)

Kinmen has three big pagodas in its history, including Taiwu Mountain's Daoieng Pagoda, Shuitou Village's Maoshan Pagoda and Jinmenchen's Old Wen Tai Pagoda. They all functioned as lighthouses for sailors in the nearby sea. The Daoieng Pagoda on Taiwu Mountain was destroyed in 1918 by an earthquake, while the Maoshan Pagoda in Shuitou village was also ruined(4) in 1961 during the August 23rd Bombardment. Fortunately, Old Wen Tai Pagoda survived the other two, and is well preserved now.

Near Old Wen Tai Pagoda there is a huge rock carved with the four characters "Shu Jian Shiao Wo" written by Yu Da-yiou, a general of the Ming dynasty during his tour of duty(5) in Kinmen.

Tourist: This small and oblique(6) pagoda looks magnificent. I've never seen one like this before. Is it the only pagoda in Kinmen?

Tour Guide: Not exactly. In ancient times, there used to be three pagodas in Kinmen-Taiwu Mountain's Daoieng Pagoda, Shuitou Village's Maoshan Pagoda and Jinmenchen's Old Wen Tai Pagoda. They were known as the three huge pagodas of Kinmen. But the pagoda you see now is the only one that still exists.

Tourist: What was the function of the three pagodas?

Tour Guide: It's said that the pagodas were used for sailors' safety, and acted like sailors' guardian angels.(7) The pagodas were just like lighthouses for the navigators. When they were seen in a line, the navigators could easily locate the island of Kinmen, without mistaking it for the mainland of China. Besides that, they are also thought of as "feng-shui pagodas" where people prayed for good fortune.

Tourist: Do you have any legends(8) or stories concerning this?
Tour Guide: It's said that Old Wen Tai Pagoda was a "feng-shui pagoda" and an "astrology(9) pagoda." The emperor of the Ming dynasty believed what his astrologer had said, that Kinmen was going to have a native emperor. Therefore, the emperor took precautions(10) and built this pagoda to destroy the "feng-shui" (environment) around.

Tourist: Besides the old pagoda, what are some other things to see?

Tour Guide: There is a rock not far from the pagoda. It's called "Sea-watching Rock". From there you can feel no boundary between the sea and the sky. And, if you are fortunate enough, you can also observe some migratory birds and ducklings here.

Tourist: Sounds amazing! This is also a highlight(11) for bird watchers, isn't it?

Tour Guide: Yes. The main reason birds come is that Kinmen Liquor Factory nearby discards "distilled grains"(12) that can attract birds looking for food.

Tourist: Wish me good luck as I go to take a look.

■1. pagoda-(n)東方寺院的塔,或公園涼亭。
■2. hexagonal-(adj.)六角形的。
■3. relic-(n)遺跡;遺物;紀念物品。此處,第幾級古蹟以序數+class來表述,第一級古蹟就是the first class historical relic。
■4. ruin-(vi.)毀滅、毀壞。
■5. tour of duty-軍人駐守某地期間;任期。
■6. oblique-(adj.)傾斜的;非直角的。不直截了當、拐彎抹角的。
■7. guardian angel-(n)守護神;守護天使。guardian是守護者或監護人的意思。
■8. legend-(n)傳說;傳奇故事。
■9. astrology-(n)占星術、占星學。占星術士則是astrologer。
■10. precaution-(n)預防措施。常見用法為take precaution against~。
■11. highlight-(n)最突出、最精彩的部分;最明亮的部分。
■12. distilled grains-此處指酒糟。distill指以蒸餾方式萃取;grain則是穀類。

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