TRIP TO SOUTHERN TAIWAN: HISTORICAL TAINAN (台南) PART 3
As its introduction on the $50 entry ticket proclaims, ChihKan Tower is TaiNan’s (台南) most famous historical site. Given the mood lighting installed around the grounds it is possibly its most photographed too.
By Stuart Hill
Originally built by the Dutch as Fort Providentia on land owned by the local aborigines, the site was captured by Koxinga during his takeover of TaiNan in southern Taiwan around 1661. Reportedly destroyed by an earthquake, in 1875 other buildings were constructed on the ruins of the old fort, as an educational and religious center of the Qing Dynasty.
For non-Chinese readers there is not much to explain the meaning of the exhibits in each of the 2 main pavilions, though guidebooks like The Rough Guide to Taiwan provide some interesting facts. However, there is basic English signage around the ChihKan grounds which covers key details.
According to the enthusiastic description on the entry ticket, the Chinese name for the site was “The Tower of Red-Haired Barbarians”, but if you’ve been to DanShui’s Fort Domingo, you are probably used to that kind of explanation by now.
The building materials used by the Dutch included bricks imported from Indonesia (another Dutch colony) and XiaMen in China. The buildings and grounds themselves are well maintained and quite picturesque, while remains of the foundations built by the Dutch are evidence of the Dutch effort to turn TaiNan into a major trading outpost based in Taiwan’s south.
Other TaiNan highlights: