Tainan, a city in southern Taiwan, was initially established by the Dutch
East India Company as a ruling and trading base which called Fort Zeelandia
during the period of Dutch rule on Taiwan. After Dutch colonists were defeated
by Koxinga in 1661, Tainan was remained as the capital of Taiwan prefecture
under the rule of Qing Dynasty until 1887, when the Qing Dynasty established
Taipei as the new provincial capital. Tainan has been historically regarded as
one of the oldest cities in Taiwan. It is also one of Taiwan's cultural
capitals, for its rich folk cultures including the famous local snack food.
Getting there ...
We had an early HSR Train (高鐵) departing from
Taipei at 8:36AM and arriving in Tainan at 10:18AM. Although we've taken
HSR many times in the recent years, the experience was still fun and
- Cigu Salt Mountain and Museum (七股鹽山)
The salt industry in Taiwan lasted through Zheng period, Qing Dynasty,
Japanese rule and the ROC, for a total of 338 years, from 1665 to 2002. In
May, 2002, the salt production was stopped because it was unable to compete
with cheap imported salt. The Cigu Salt Mountain has become a popular
tourist spot with the main mountain measuring 20 meters (7-floor) tall.
We went to a local restaurant for
an almost-all-seafood lunch. My family all enjoyed the fresh seafood
except me ....
Black-faced Spoonbill Reserve (黑面琵鷺)
Black-faced Spoonbill is the only species
of spoonbill regarded as endangered. It has a niche existence on
only a few small rocky islands off the west coast of North Korea, with three
wintering sites at Hong Kong, Taiwan and Vietnam. The global
population of this species, based on the winter population count carried out
in 1988-1990 in all known sites, was estimated at 288 individuals. As of
2010, thanks to conservation efforts over the years, the estimated global
population had increased to 2346. The Tainan County Government has
been promoting the conservation of the black-faced spoonbills, which turn up
in the wetlands of Cigu every winter. The black-faced spoonbill’s main
habitats and protected areas are located in the reclaimed land at the
northern bank of the Zengwen River (曾文溪).
The birds were really far away from the observation deck that even my 400mm
lens was useless.
- Chihkan Tower (赤崁樓)
In 1653 the Dutch built Fort Providentia (or Provintia) in this area
during their colonization of Taiwan and was eventually surrendered to
Koxinga (鄭成功) in 1662. The Chinese named it "Tower of Savages"（番仔樓) or
"Tower of Red-Haired Barbarians" (紅毛樓). Since 1945 the site has been
known as Chihkan Tower (赤崁樓), which derives from the Taiwanese aboriginal
village name recorded by the Dutch. Even though Chihkan Tower has
survived different historical periods, it retains its rich and graceful
architectural aspects and becomes one of the most famous historical
landmarks in Taiwan. Linus and Iris remembered the joy of feeding
fish, and asked for coins again and again to buy more fish food from the
The Second Day ...
- Koxinga Shrine (延平郡王祠)
Koxinga (國姓爺) is the customary Western spelling of the
popular appellation of Zheng Chenggong (鄭成功), who was a military leader of
Ming Dynasty born in 1624 and died in 1662 on the island of Formosa. A Ming
loyalist and the arch commander of the Ming troops on the maritime front for
the later monarchs of the withering dynasty, Koxinga devoted the last 16 years
of his life to resisting the conquest of China by the Manchus of the
Qing Dynasty. Upon defeating the forces of the Dutch East
India Company (VOC) on Formosa in his last campaign in 1661–1662, Koxinga took
over the island in order to support his grand campaign against the
Manchu-ruled Qing Dynasty.
It was a bit of challenge to teach Linus and Iris this piece of
Chinese/Taiwanese history and I don't think they will remember anything
after the trip.
- Confucius Temple (孔廟)
The Taiwan Confucius Temple, also called the Scholarly Temple was built
in 1665 when Cheng Ching (鄭經), son of Koxinga to
offer lectures and cultivate intellectuals. It was the first learning
institute of children when Taiwan was ruled by Qing Dynasty .As the result,
it is also called the First Academy of Taiwan. The temple also
includes storerooms for the ritual implements and musical instruments that
are used in these ceremonies.
- Anping Old Fort and Street (安平古堡)
In the early 17th century, Europeans came to Asia to trade and develop
colonial outposts. In 1624, the Dutch occupied today's Anping and took
10 years to build a fort named "Fort Zeelandia". On 30 April 1661,
Zheng Chenggong (鄭成功) laid siege to the fortress
(defended by 2,000 Dutch soldiers) with 400 warships and 25,000 men. After a
nine-month siege with the loss of 1,600 Dutch lives, the Dutch surrendered
the Fortress on 1 February 1662. After 1662, it was named "King
Castle", "Anping Castle" as well as "Taiwan Castle". Today, the only
Dutch remains are the ruins of a semicircular bulwark and a section of the
outer fort's brick wall.
After visiting the fort, we walked along the adjacent old streets to "enjoy"
more local snack food (where we passed by the most
- Anping Tree House (安平樹屋) and Tait & Co Merchant House (德記洋行)
Anping Tree House was originally the warehouse of Tait & Co, and was the
office and warehouse of the Japan Salt Company during the Japanese Occupation.
After World War II, this area was abandoned because the salt industry in
Anping declined. The aerial roots and branches of banyan trees wrapped
around the buildings, combined with the soils, red bricks and partial concrete
walls create this unusual sight.
British traders established the Tait & Co merchant house in Anping to handle tea
exports and other banking businesses. This is the only remaining merchant
house of British traders in Anping, and is currently used as the Taiwan
Development Historical Sculpture Exhibition Hall.
- Eternal Golden Fort (億載金城)
The fortress was built in 1874 by the famous Qing official Shen Baozhen (沈葆楨)
in order to safeguard the coast and to defend the island against Japanese
invasions. In 1895, when Taiwan was invaded by the Empire of Japan, the
Taiwanese people fought against the Japanese battleship from this fortress.
The current cannons displayed were duplicates when the city government the
centenary of the fort in 1975 (the Japanese government sold some of the
fort's cannons in order to help pay for the war during Russo-Japanese War in
Going Home ...
We actually concluded our itinerary earlier than scheduled. We decided
to skip dinner in Tainan (I think we all had enough of the local snack food),
and headed to HSR train station directly to take an earlier train back to
Taipei. With a simple sushi dinner at the train station, we were relaxing
on the train on the way home.
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