Friday, December 28, 2007

Reliving a bit of Taiwanese History



Yesterday longtime Taiwan coworker Teyet Moy and my neighbor Mr. Chen, a retired taxi driver, joined me for a half-day post-Christmas excursion to the city of Tainan in southern Taiwan. There we relived some ancient Taiwanese history.tainan1

First, we visited the ruins of Old Fort Zeelandia, built by the Dutch when they colonized Taiwan (1624-1662). This fort was renamed Anping when Zheng Cheng-Gong (Koxinga) recovered it from the Dutch. We then took a quick stroll along Provintia street, the first well-planned street in European style which became the center of Tainan City.

From there, we paid a visit to the Eternal Golden Fort, built in 1874 to shore up Taiwan's defense against the Japanese threat.  

Afterward, we visited ChiKan Tower and the ruins of Fort Provintia, the site where Koxinga accepted Dutch surrender some 350 years ago. Koxinga revamped Fort Provintia under the Eastern Imperial Court Tian-Fu adminstration and lived there. Today, it is known by Taiwanese not for being a former center of Dutch colonization but for the traditional Chinese architecture and gardens which were erected and restored over top and around the old fort.     

IMG_0005 tainan4tainan8 IMG_0008  We drove by tainan9the Merchant House of Tait tainan10& Company, the Confucius temple and historic train station built under Japanese occupation, and walked the perimeter  of the Koxinga Shrine, but that was about all we wanted to squeeze in before nightfall. Actually, if but for an hour or two, a half a day trip was nearly adequate to take in the major sites. Two days, as we originally discussed, would have been too long.

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