Sun, Dec 02, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Work to begin on restoring historic street in Kinmen

Staff writer, with CNA

Republic of China flags line Mofan Street in Kinmen County on Tuesday.

Photo: CNA

Work to restore an old street made up of red-brick buildings with arched front doors in Kinmen County is finally about to start, seven years after owners of some of the historic but dilapidated houses first sought assistance with the restoration work.

Contractors have been secured for the Mofan Street (also known as Model Street) restoration program, Kinmen County Cultural Affairs Bureau Director-General Lu Kun-ho (呂坤和) said on Tuesday, adding that he expects the nostalgic glory of the commercial street built in the 1920s to be restored within one year.

Lu praised the restoration program for its goals, which include preserving the street’s original appearance and atmosphere, and preventing the old brick houses from collapsing.

The program represents “a consensus among the owners to restore the buildings to their former glory,” Lu said.

The street in Jincheng Township (金城) has been a popular tourist destination on Kinmen Island for years, especially among visitors from China.

The street draws the most tourists during the New Year’s Day holiday and China’s week-long Oct. 1 National Day holiday, when it is decorated with the flags of both the Republic of China and the People’s Republic of China.

Built in 1925, one year after then-Kinmen County Chamber of Commerce head Fu Hsi-chi (傅錫琪) and local noble Weng Tung-wen (翁同文) decided to build a business center, Mofan Street comprised 40 houses, mainly serving as stores, the Kinmen County Cultural Affairs Bureau said.

Fu named the street mofan (“model”) due to its uniform architecture combining Chinese and Western styles, which he expected to stand model for future developments, the bureau said.

The street saw its heyday in the 1960s, but fell into disrepair in the 1980s and 1990s due to an economic recession, the bureau said.

However, Mofan Street is more than a page in Kinmen history, recording its rise and fall, with many of the well-preserved buildings still occupied. it said.

Calls to restore the dilapidated part of the street began in 2011, with some house owners applying for government subsidies to renovate historic structures, it said.

The bureau secured funding from the Ministry of Culture in March 2016, and selected contractors through a public bidding process on Nov. 22, the bureau said.

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