Takao Watchkeeper

Welcome to Yancheng! Although,「鹽埕散步」is a more explicit invitation to take a stroll in the Yancheng district!

Lately, it’s been challenging to press Publish. The stack of drafts keeps piling up, and for various reasons, it takes forever, or never you could say, to wrap them up. I’ve been doing some housekeeping though, and fixed a good amount of broken links, as well as doing minor edits here and there.

Rabbit holes are one of the reasons to blame. It’s amazing all the information out there! I’ll often tweet the link to the more interesting sources, but some deserve more than that, so I’ll share those ones here.

Named after its original salt farming activity around 1710, the Yancheng 鹽埕 district of today bears no obvious traces of its distant past. When the Japanese settled over, major developments were undertaken, most notably with the birth of the Hamasen 哈瑪星 neigbhorhood, built as an administrative and financial center, while Yancheng was developed as a commercial center (ℹ️).

In many ways, this part of town can be considered as the southern counterpart of Taipei’s Dadaocheng 大稻埕. One cultivating rice, the other farming salt, both near the water, and where the Japanese invested a lot in to develop trade and commerce.

I’m quite fond of the Yancheng 鹽埕 area, and recommend it to anyone visiting Kaohsiung. Equip yourself with a bicycle, leisurely roam through the small alleys, during the day and at night too, you’ll be bound to run into some interesting things. And this being Kaohsiung, be prepared to inhale some of Taiwan’s finest air pollution when cycling. 😬

Still, one fabulous thing about the Yancheng district is that you’ll never go hungry at anytime of the day. I’m not talking about 7-11, but places like this almond tea shop, a local institution for the nearby late night owls, or mochis made from scratch (with glutinous rice, not glutinous rice flour), among a few others, and many more not recorded here.

In the area, is also the Pier-2 Art Center, one of Kaohsiung’s glories, much thanks to the activists who manifested early-on, and convinced the local government to keep the old sugar warehouses, repurposing them into a modern cultural hot spot. Hence, Kaohsiung is gradually erasing this stigma of being a 文化沙漠 cultural desert.

Also, to preserve, or dust off the historical culture of this part of town, the Takao Renaissance Association 打狗文史再興會社 was established. They regularly organize events, like walking tours, and also sometimes share cool pictures of Hamasen or the Yancheng district. Below are some of the ones that stood out for me, but the rest of the albums are very much worth checking out too!

Hamasen 哈瑪星

This view!

1961 flood in Yancheng

Whenever these kind of historical pictures get posted, it’s fun to see fellow 網友s comment with related news articles, or have fun figuring out the location of the place.

Thanks to the wonders of Google’s time machine, here’s a look at that corner building in its pre-demolished state.

1913 Takao Post Office vs post-Japan Post Office – Part 1

Located near the Sizihwan 西子灣 MRT station.
Not sure if this was rebuilt due to damage from American bombings, or KMT frenzy.

山下町大通り vs 鼓山一路

1937「銀座」, Kaohsiung’s first commercial center.

Located here.

1931, Holy Rosary Cathedral 玫瑰聖母堂

Amazing to see how Kaohsiung has developed over the years.
Recent pictures of the cathedral can be found on Instagram.

一張照片勝過千言萬語。A picture is worth a thousand words.

Kuchan Japanese-style elementary school vs Yancheng KMT-style elementary school.

No scooters yet…

I like these women’s demeanor and style as they carry on with whatever business they’re up to.

And probably in reference to the (most likely illegal) sheet metal rooftop, the caption is making a plea to let those old houses breathe, 讓老房子透透氣吧。

1913 Takao Post Office vs post-Japan Post Office – Part 2

Well, let me answer my own self.
The original Gushan post office escaped damage from American bombings, but was demolished and rebuilt after the war. An historical tragedy 歷史慘案, as the caption puts it.


Women wearing kimonos, walking in the streets of Takao. Beautiful picture!



One thought on “Takao Watchkeeper

  1. It is always so nice to see comparisson between the different times of a city. Here in my hometown they dont have much left as 99% of all records were lost during the bombings 😦 (only few private photos still exist)

    Liked by 1 person

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