Attractions in Tainan (台南) - Anping Tree House (安平樹屋) - Tait and Co. Merchant House - Anping artillery battery - Fort Anping - Anping sword lions (安平劍獅) - Cigu Salt Mountain (七股鹽山) - Taiwan Salt Museum (臺灣鹽博物館) [Ancient City (Part 1)] | luomujie blogspot

Attractions in Tainan (台南) - Anping Tree House (安平樹屋) - Tait and Co. Merchant House - Anping artillery battery - Fort Anping - Anping sword lions (安平劍獅) - Cigu Salt Mountain (七股鹽山) - Taiwan Salt Museum (臺灣鹽博物館) [Ancient City (Part 1)]

Abstract: Visiting Tainan is like a trip back in time. It was a time when Taiwan was called Formosa by people who got allured by its beauty. This sprawling city in Southern Taiwan is the oldest city of the island and also its original capital. It has the most number of historical buildings than any other place in Taiwan hence I called it the “Ancient City”. 

 map of Fort Zeelandia during the Dutch occupation of Anping Island

At the back of my entrance ticket is a map of the modern Fort Zeelandia which is now known as Anping Fort

a larger version of the map

The lighthouse above was added by the Japanese during its rule in Taiwan.

The walls of Fort Zeelandia still stands up to now. Amazing! 
A small passage in the wall.

Fort Zeelandia was like this in the 20th century.

Structures were added like the tower above 

And the whole complex looks like this now.

I went inside this building to learn about the history of Anping Fort.

The wall of Fort Anping
Since Fort Anping was a military fortress, it has a number of cannons pointing towards the sea.

This well was rumored to be connected to the ancient well in Chikan Tower.
An interesting thing to do in Fort Anping is to climb its surveillance post.

Climbing to its top gave me a nice view of Tainan

Another view from the surveillance post.
climbing to the top of the tower

I could even see the other visitors below!

Just a few meters away from Fort Anping is a portion of the outer building of Fort Zeelandia.

I started my journey in Anping. I took Bus 88 (Anping Route). There was a separate island in Taiwan centuries ago. It's actually a sandbar and when the Dutch arrived in Taiwan in 1624 they built a castle on it and it was called Fort Zeelandia. It has an inner wall and other wall and I saw a model of the castle inside the Fort’s museum. The Dutch considered the island of Taiwan as a strategic location to protect their colonies in other parts of Asia. Taiwan was so important to them. 

 Koxinga played an important role in the defeat of the Dutch colonizers of Taiwan.

Hundreds of years ago, the Taijiang bay separates Anping Island from the island of Taiwan.  The Dutch built their castle on this sandbar island which is Fort Zeelandia.

Large ships carrying goods entered Taiwan and lot of foreign merchants went to Taiwan to do business. A lot of merchant houses were built and some of them are the Tait and Co. Merchant House and the Julius Mannich Merchant House. Koxinga which is considered as the hero of Taiwan defeated the Dutch by bombarding Fort Zeelandia. The Dutch were defeated and surrendered Fort Zeelandia to Koxinga. Fort Zeelandia was renamed to Anping Fort. It was named Anping because it was the hometown of Koxinga. Gradually, the sandbar expanded due to the siltation of Taijiang Bay until it merged with the island of Taiwan. 

This building is now a museum.
Inside the Tait and Co. Merchant House are dioramas telling the rich history of Tainan.

The Japanese monopolized the trading in Anping when they annexed the island as part of their Empire. Soon, the foreign merchants started to lose money and move to other places and only a few merchants were left. The Japanese then transferred the ownership of merchant houses to government corporations. The surviving Tait and Co. Merchant House has a warehouse beside and is now known as the Anping Tree House.

After visiting the Anping Tree House and the Tait and Co. Merchang House, I went directly to the Anping artillery battery.

Some old cannons

The original warehouse has a banyan tree beside it. The roots of banyan trees can absorb moisture and since the warehouse was built using a traditional mixture consisting of oyster and glutinous rice it was perfect for the growing roots of a banyan tree! Time had passed and the banyan tree beside the warehouse gradually engulfs the house owning it as it was the real owner. The house and the tree became united as one. The tree became the house and house became the tree. haha! Beware of banyan trees! They are homewreckers! The Anping Tree House is now a top attraction in Tainan. 

A map of Anping town with its historic buildings

I went inside the historic Haishan Hostel and on its gate was a sword lion

Other interesting things to see at Anping are the sword lions at many homes. These lions have swords in their mouth and the position of the sword tells something. The house owner maybe wishing for success in business or wants to drive away evil. Food stalls abound in Anping Old Street and I just have my lunch there. I then took Bus 99 (Taijiang Route) to see the Salt Mountain and Salt Museum. It took around one hour to reach the place and I realized that I was no longer in the city.

Cigu Salt Mountain

Walking on Salt Mountain was like walking in snow.

The 'snow' 

A stairway would lead you to the summit of the mountain.

climbing the mountain of salt

What can you see on the summit? Salt fields!

Taiwan Salt Museum

salt sculptures of a Japanese anime series
A member of the museum staff helped me take photos. I was even allowed to go beyond the line.

The Taiwan Salt Museum has a second floor so I was able to have this shot.

The traditional ways of making salt can be learned here. However, the text in the displays were mostly in Chinese.
One of the displays in the salt museum

The museum also have an artificial salt cave to let visitors feel on what's inside such geologic structure.

Outside the museum is a salt field and visitors can experience the fun in making salt.

You haven't been to the Cigu salt fields if you haven't tried raking its salt.

manual watermill

I also tried!

It was fun to see Salt Mountain. Children were playing as if they are having fun in the snow. I too had fun and hiked Salt Mountain up to its summit. I have a nice view of the salt fields of Tainan at the top. After my fun in Salt Mountain, I hurriedly walked to Salt Museum. The building of the museum resembles two pyramids which are colored white. A white sphinx was also at the entrance. I went inside and paid a student discount ticket of NTD 110. I learned inside a lot of things about the industry, history and science of salt making. Outside the museum was a salt field where I had a chance to experience the traditional ways of making salt. 

The sun was setting down. Can you see the Salt Mountain?

Salt Museum closed at 5:30pm and I went to the bus stop to wait for the bus that will take me back to Tainan City. The sun was already down and it was becoming darker and darker. I checked again the bus stop information and asked some people. The problem is that they can't speak English. I asked if a bus will come at 6:00pm but they couldn't answer me. I felt that something bad was going to happen and the bus might not come. It was becoming darker and darker. Private cars were already leaving the premises of the Salt Museum and I was left alone in the dark bus stop. I sensed danger. (To be continued...)

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