West Tainan Development

West Tainan Development  

For a long time I was trying to get my head around the fact that much of the Tainan that I know was once water. I knew from drawings and various information that high tide used to roll up to the doors of Fort Provintia and that Fort Zeelandia was on an island. Getting an exact image of how this changed and what parts of Tainan are landfill didn’t happen until I stumbled across this image from the 1930s. This Japanese concept painting of the landfill development of western Tainan put all the pieces together for me.  

Anping, 1936

We can juxtapose a modern map of Tainan that roughly shows the same area.

modern Anping

Modern Anping (sorry, it's upside down to match the south-facing Japanese print)

In the top image we can see the island of old Anping connected to Five Channels Area by what is now Anping Road. The modern areas of Anping where we can find city hall, the courthouse and the Anping Carrefour are on what was then just a skeleton of land. You can see that most of old Tainan City ends at about Jinhua Street. Jinhua street is still many blocks west of Chikan Lou, so I’m guessing the water line once stretched to Ximen Road if not all the way to Chikan. 

The landfill was likely a decision to make the area useable again. Anping Harbor became less and less viable as a port over the years. It was a victim of silting, a process through which earth and sand are carried by moving or running water and deposited as a sediment. Even at the time of the Dutch, the water between Anping and the mainland was shallow and larger ships often got stuck. 

This same kind of skeletal land we see in the picture can be found all along the coast. It is used primarily as fish farms. In some areas, this land may be filled in for development, but some areas are now protected wetlands. 

Anping certainly contrasts with old and new. While the area of old Anping retains some of the oldest heritage in the country, it is surrounded by broad avenues and modern highrises. When traveling from downtown Tainan to Anping you go from an old historic area, through a flat and modern area, and back into an old historic area. It is easier to understand why this is all new development if you look at the history of the land structure. Next time you’re walking or driving through New Anping, think about the picture below. 

looking south at Fort Zeelandia and Old Anping surrounded by water

looking south at Fort Zeelandia and Old Anping surrounded by water

3 Responses to “West Tainan Development”
  1. Gerd says:

    When I visited Eternal Golden Castle last week on Monday I received a very well made English language booklet about the newly opened Taijiang National Park for free. In this booklet the historical dimension of the area including the former shorelines were explained and illustrated as well.
    Maybe you can find out how to get this booklet, since I’m back in Germany, I can’t help you on this one.

  2. It is a good pamphlet. Part of a nice series put out by city gov. You can pick them up at foreigner center on second floor of city hall, also lots of other info to be had there.

    Interesting blog, nice to see those maps together.

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