MoNTUE – An Artistic Vision

MoNTUE Building Exterior

The exterior of MoNTUE invites visual interaction with passers-by.

A Symbol of Resistance

In a city like Taipei it is immensely difficult to resist the commercial pressures surrounding us. We are bombarded by relentless advertising, dependent on shops for survival, and locked into a system in which money dictates more of our decisions than perhaps it should. Many of Taiwan’s educational institutions, while sheltered to some extent from the turbulence of an economic system beyond their control by government support, are increasingly subject to the same stark forces governing the logic of The Market. In this context, the opening of the Museum of National Taipei University of Education (MoNTUE) represents an heroic act of resistance against Mammon‘s magnetic power and a loud display of support for a conception of wealth that attaches as much significance to spiritual enrichment as material gain and thrives on art, culture, and learning. To put it another way: the site on which MoNTUE recently opened very nearly became just another 7-Eleven.

MoNTUE - Relief of Saint Joachim from Reims Cathedral

One of the ‘Metro 11′ donated to MoNTUE by the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Relief of Saint Joachim from Reims Cathedral, France, dating from 1250 – 1270 A.D.

MoNTUE’s story begins in 2004, when New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art decided to dispose of some of its substantial collection of plaster cast sculptures, many of which it had been unable to put on public display due to a lack of space.  Professor Lin Mun-lee, who was at the time director of the National Palace Museum, heard about this through her ex-colleague at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Yulin Lee, whereupon she began looking for funding to help transfer these works from New York to Taipei. The success of Yulin Lee’s coordination and Professor Lin’s fundraising efforts resulted in the first occasion the Met had ever made a donation to an institution in Taiwan. The artworks – numbering some hundred pieces in all and including the cast of a work by Michelangelo – needed a home, and Professor Lin looked to the National Taipei University of Education, where she had been the founding director of the Fine Arts Department, for a potential solution. Six years on, following a struggle within the university between those who wanted to use the space now occupied by MoNTUE as a commercial, cash generating enterprise, and those like Professor Lin, who firmly believed that the long-term value of an art gallery and museum would far outweigh short-term financial gains, the Met’s donation now has a worthy new home in the heart of Taipei. The opening of MoNTUE may well represent the beginning of an exciting new chapter for Taiwan’s art world, as historic European artworks, the likes of which were previously only accessible through books and air travel, are put on display in the heart of the island’s largest city.  These include the ‘Metro 11′, eleven works which are now on permanent display in the building, among which are sculptures from the facades of Reims and Chartres Cathedrals in France, Antoine Louis Barye’s powerful ‘Lion Crushing a Serpent’ whose bronze original stands in the Louvre, and two incredible 15th century wood carvings take from the pew ends of St. Olav’s Church in the Faeroe Islands.

MoNTUE's Main Exhibition Space

MoNTUE’s main exhibition space offers unique opportunities for creative curating.

Deconstructing A Divide

With generous help from the university itself, commercial foundations, and the government, MoNTUE opened on September 25th this year. For almost a year prior to that, Japanese architect Keisuke Toyoda was hard at work transforming the newly built structure into a state-of-the-art gallery space. The site where MoNTUE is located was previously occupied by the university’s campus wall and as such was a barrier to interaction between the institution an the city. Breaking this boundary down and replacing it with an open, inviting structure which bridges the arbitrary divide between the university and the urban fabric surrounding it was part of the philosophy guiding the gallery’s design. The result of this is that while MoNTUE has successfully transformed the physical nature of this part of central Taipei, whether the gallery is able to fulfill its goal of becoming a ‘public living room’ and commencing a genuine interaction with non-student residents of the city remains to be seen.

MoNTUE Lee Mei-shu 'Woman Resting on the Chair' Taipei

Lee Mei-shu ‘Woman Resting on the Chair’. Part of MoNTUE’s current exhibition.

True to MoNTUE’s goals Toyoda, a founding partner of Noiz Architects, has succeeded in creating a gallery which encourages interaction between outside and inside, the building and the viewer, the artworks and the city, and as such has dissolved many of the traditional boundaries constituted by less thoughtful architecture. While sections of the gallery contain traditional display space, many of the paintings and sculptures currently on show are framed, not by white walls, but by MoNTUE’s large windows and the trees or traffic behind them. Most of the building’s street-facing facade is glass, with the gallery’s contents open and visible to passers-by. When juxtaposed with, for example, even a relatively modern gallery building such as the Taipei Fine Arts Museum (TFAM), whose imposing concrete walls conceal and take a protective approach to its contents, the outcome of MoNTUE’s accessible architectural vision becomes immediately apparent. Visitors here never really leave the city behind, its light and sounds continually accompanying their tour. Ensuring that gallery entrance remains free is another important part of this guiding philosophy and by doing so Professor Lin and Lan Kung-hsu – MoNTUE’s executive director – aim to make this a cultural and educational resource which benefits Taipei’s residents.

MoNTUE Taipei sketch.

MoNTUE encourages visitors to sketch ideas and impressions.

Cutting-Edge Curating

In conversation with Joyce Lai and Nova Huang, two of the gallery’s three full-time management staff, TFAM, as Taipei’s biggest art institution, is understandably a name that keeps coming up, mainly in relation to how MoNTUE might be able to complement or indeed offer a different approach to exhibiting. An example they use to outline MoNTUE’s creative approach to curating is the current exhibition, Still the Vanguard of Education, the Forefront of Art.  TFAM has held a number of exhibitions about Taiwan’s first generation of modern painters – the subject of this show – but MoNTUE hope to present this narrative in a new format, thus revealing aspects of the works that previously remained hidden or under-exposed. The gallery’s next exhibition – its ‘Grand Opening’ – which is planned to open in April 2013 and will be curated by a National Taipei University of Education academic, Lin Chi-Ming, will use a plaster cast of one of Michelangelo’s sculptures as a departure point from which to explore the artist’s impact on contemporary art.  The aim in doing so is to reveal parallels between works that would otherwise be separated by time and art-historical categories.  Exhibiting in this fashion will inevitably require some high profile loans from other international art institutions, which TFAM has already done with some degree of success, and thanks to the experience and reputation of Professor Lin, as well as the gallery’s world-class facilities, MoNTUE is confident about being able to secure important loans from other galleries around the world.  Moreover, MoNTUE and the Met plan to continue their collaboration, with curator visits from New York and lecture series.  This all means that Taiwan’s art-lovers are in for a treat.

Lion Crushing a Serpent MoNTUE

Lion Crushing a Serpent, Antoine Louis Barye (1832-1835). MoNTUE’s plaster cast of the original.

With plans to show three to four exhibitions each year, MoNTUE’s focus is evidently on quality and providing the environment for sustained engagement with the works on display. Free access naturally allows for a slower, more relaxed way for Taipei residents to interact with an exhibition’s works and the vision in mind is one of visitors dropping in to the gallery during their lunch break or on their way home from work, taking a second, third, or fourth glance at the artwork which sparked their imagination last time, and discovering a sculpture that somehow escaped their attention on a previous visit. Guests are invited to take notes, draw sketches, or leave drawings for future visitors. This provides a counterpoint to commercially-oriented galleries, of which Taipei has no shortage, whose business models are built around the quick turnover of artist exhibitions and can be stressful, intimidating spaces for the uninitiated.

MoNTUE Chen Cheng-Po, 'My Family'

‘My Family’, Chen Cheng-Po. From MoNTUE’s current exhibition.

To return to the theme with which this article began, when we mentioned the commercial pressures that surround us in the present, we might now also bring the past, and future, into the equation.  MoNTUE’s unique claim to attention is firstly its directors’ awareness of the university’s historical role as Taiwan’s first institute of higher education, and thus a place in which the island’s first generation of modern painters was nurtured.  This is undoubtedly a heritage worth celebrating, exploring, and revealing.  Perhaps more importantly, Professor Lin and those who supported her quest to establish MoNTUE advocate a brave, optimistic view of the future.  This is a vision of the future that deserves to be supported; a Taipei where art is accessible, open, and a vital part of the urban fabric.  MoNTUE is itself an artistic statement, a manifesto for a certain kind of city, and we like it.

MoNTUE’s current exhibition, Still the Vanguard of Education, the Forefront of Art, pays homage to the university’s place in Taiwanese history as the island’s first modern institution of higher education and its important role in nurturing the island’s first generation of modern painters. On show are an eclectic range of works by graduates of the university together with works by their teachers at Tokyo University of the Arts, 18 of which are on exhibition loan from that institution. The exhibition runs until January 13th, 2013 and entry is free.

Information

No.134, Section 2, Heping East Road, Da’an District, Taipei

montue.ntue.edu.tw

0932857504

MRT Stations:Zhongxiao DunhuaSun Yat Sen Memorial HallTaipei City Hall

Open: Monday – Friday 11.00 am – 10.00 pm; Saturday – Sunday 11.00 am – 11.00 pm.

show map
  • MoNTUE Building Exterior
  • Relief of Saint Joachim from Reims Cathedral
  • MoNTUE's Main Exhibition Space
  • Lee Mei-shu 'Woman Resting on the Chair'
  • Left Sketches - MoNTUE
  • Lion Crushing a Serpent
  • Chen Cheng-Po, 'My Family'
  • MoNTUE Main Exhibition Hall

Beitou Hot Spring Museum – A Community Affair

Museum exterior - Beitou Hot Spring Museum

The Beitou Hot Spring Musuem’s architecture is a combination of Victorian style with traditional Japanese elements.

Bathing in History

A little over one hundred years ago, in 1911, the Japanese colonial authorities in Taiwan commenced the building of a public bath house in the northern suburbs of the island’s colonial capital, Taipei. Beitou – or Hokuto, as it was then called by the Japanese – had developed a well-deserved reputation as a hot spring resort and its waters had achieved renown throughout the Japanese empire for their unique qualities. Yet bathing in hot springs was an exclusive, expensive affair, and beyond the means of even most Japanese residents. The Beitou Hot Spring Public Bath was opened to Japanese members of the public in 1913, and charged what was deemed to be an affordable price for entry. The building’s architecture combined strong Victorian characteristics – reflecting the Japanese empire’s admiration for, and desire to emulate, British imperial practice – with traditional Japanese style, particularly on the structure’s second floor and roof, resulting in an impressive and, for its time, brave architectural hybrid. Guests visiting the bath house for the first time must have been impressed by both the building’s cosmopolitan grandeur, and its peaceful rustic setting, sandwiched between the waters of Beitou Creek and the forested slopes of Datun Shan. Inside, the Public Bath contained a serene, contemplative lobby room, verandas with views looking out over the surrounding countryside and mountains, and, of course, the large hot spring bath itself surrounded by grandiose pillars, arched walkways, patterned floor tiles, and stained glass windows. Imperial Rome, too, was another of the building’s design inspirations.

Main bath hall, Beitou Hot Spring Museum

Beitou Hot Spring Museum’s main bath hall has distinct Roman architectural elements with its grand columns and arches.

A Community Cause

Within 80 years of opening, the building had fallen into a parlous state of disrepair and dereliction. Abandoned, unmaintained, and with its original identity fast disappearing from collective memory, by the 1990s the local government had planned to demolish the bath house in order to turn the site into a cable car station for the planned (but now abandoned) Yangming Shan gondola. When a local teacher began exploring the building on field-trips in the local area with her students, the bath house was an atmospheric ruin, desirable only to film crews looking for spooky movie sets. Ms. Huang Kuei-Kuan ( 黃桂冠 ), a teacher at Beitou Elementary School, was interested in the ‘hometown education’ movement, which promoted knowledge of local history and culture as a remedy to the restrictive, China-focused, curriculum administered by the government for decades after 1945. Many Taiwanese children and young adults had been left with little or no knowledge of their island’s own history, and in the case of Beitou this meant an ignorance of the area’s aboriginal, settler, and Japanese histories. Ms. Huang’s admirable efforts to advance local cultural knowledge among her students resulted in their (re)discovery of the old public bath house and the development of a strong community attachment to Beitou’s heritage. Ms. Huang, her students, and numerous other members of the community petitioned the Taipei city government to prevent the bath house’s demolition, request that it be listed as a designated historical building, and demand that it be transformed into a museum. In 1996 the government responded to this heartfelt movement and the building received listed status. By late 1998 the old public bath had been renovated and restored to its former glory, opening in October of that year as the Beitou Hot Spring Musuem. Through sustained activism and strong community participation, Beitou had succeeded in protecting one of its most important cultural assets and embarking on a voyage to rediscover its abundant local history.

Stained Glass Window Beitou Hot Spring Museum

Beitou Hot Spring Museum’s main bath house has some beautiful stained glass windows, though these are reproductions of the (stolen) originals.

The Museum

Since opening in 1998, the Beitou Hot Spring Museum has seen a steady stream of both Taiwanese and foreign visitors. Operating as the focal point for a constellation of Beitou’s other historic sights, cultural centres, and museums, the old bath house has led the area’s quest to become an ‘eco-museum’, a rather opaque term, which refers to the area around the museum and Beitou park as a space for harmonious and active engagement between local residents and the area’s heritage. This means that visitors to the museum immediately notice the local volunteers welcoming guests and inviting them to take off their shoes and put on slippers as they enter the building. In addition, the museum’s Operating Supervision Committee is made up of local teachers and representatives from Beitou district’s community organisations, giving locals a direct influence over what happens.

Shoe Rack Beitou Hot Spring Museum

Visitors to the Beitou Hot Spring Museum are asked to change into slippers as they enter.

The museum’s second floor contains exhibits and information pertaining to Beitou’s fascinating human history. Unfortunately this section of the museum currently has no English translations, however the story begins with the indigenous Ketagalan settlement of Patauw – meaning ‘The Place of Witches’, so named because of the mysterious plumes of smoke billowing from the mountain sides, and their accompaniment by an (at the time) inexplicable sulphurous stench – from which the name ‘Beitou’ derives. Settlers from Mainland China followed from the 15th century onwards, selecting the area as one whose volcanic soils meant the land made for fertile farmland, and inter-marrying with Ketagalan tribes-people.  The Spanish and Dutch also made excursions into the Beitou area during the time of their occupation at nearby Danshui, and the famous traveller Yu Yonghe followed not long after the Dutch left in his quest to exploit local sulphur resources for use as an ingredient in gunpowder. Beitou was really put on the map, however, during Taiwan’s time as a Japanese colony and the district’s rapid development as a hot spring resort. As part of this development, in 1916 a 1.2 kilometre railway branch line was opened on the Taipei – Danshui railway line, from Beitou to the unimaginatively-named ‘New Beitou’ station. A number of fascinating old Japanese-era photographs have been unearthed from various archives and juxtaposed with pictures of the present giving visitors a welcome visual insight into the area’s history.

1960s Film Poster Beitou Hot Spring Museum

The Beitou Hot Spring Museum has a room devoted to Beitou’s fame in the 1960s as a favoured location for Taiwanese language movies.

By default Beitou Hot Spring Museum also serves as a museum of Japanese colonial architecture, and the building’s upper floor is a fascinating place to explore the original lobby area which is kitted out in traditional Japanese style and whose wooden screen doors and tatami mat flooring have been restored, as well as a fine veranda overlooking Beitou Park and Beitou Creek. The upper floor’s remaining spaces have been converted into a multimedia auditorium, exhibition space, and small room displaying information on Beitou’s role during the late 1960s as a popular location for movie shoots; over one hundred Taiwanese-language films were filmed in the area during that decade. Exhibits on the ground floor of the museum focus on Beitou’s fascinating geology, hot spring formation, and the history of the old bath house. Again, the vast majority of information boards are only available in Chinese, but sections pertaining to Taiwan’s famous hot springs and the old public bath house’s renovation do have English translations. In addition, one of the lounge rooms situated next to the bath hall shows an excellent video documentary outlining the story behind the museum’s establishment and its role in bringing Beitou’s community together, which is well worth seeing and thankfully does have English subtitles.

Bath House Floor Tiles Beitou Hot Spring Museum

The floor tiles in the bath house are a mixture of original tiles and modern replacements.

Natural (High)Light

The main bath hall itself is the highlight of a trip to the Hot Spring Museum, and besides admiring the ancient Roman style and motifs, there is a wealth of information detailing the painstaking steps (following international standards requiring ‘maximum preservation and minimum intervention’) taken to restore the building to its former glory. This included working with a local tile-maker to produce floor tiles that matched the exact hue of the originals, and using the extensive collections of local amateur photographer Ms. Chuang Hsiu-Luan, to accurately reproduce the design of the stained-glass windows which, by the early 1990s, had long been stolen. At nine metres long by six metres wide, the scale of the main bath is hardly overwhelming, but its architectural context and expert use of natural light result in an area that appears much grander and more spacious than its dimensions might suggest. On weekdays, when visitor numbers are relatively small, the main bath hall is a peaceful, meditative space, and thoroughly suited to its role as an occasional art exhibitions space.

Left Words, Left Impressions Beitou Hot Spring Museum

Visitors’ messages posted on the wall of the ‘Left Words, Left Impressions’ exhibition currently running at the Beitou Hot Spring Museum.

After strolling back upstairs having finished the museum tour, visitors are left with a better understanding not only of Beitou’s history, the area’s endlessly fascinating geology, and its important role as Japanese Taiwan’s premier leisure (and pleasure) resort, but also of the power of communities in Taiwan to fight to protect their heritage. This beautiful old public bath house, an architectural and cultural relic unique in Taiwan, would not exist today were it not for the patient but devoted activism of Beitou’s children, teachers, and other members of the community. The Beitou Hot Spring Museum is, in short, an institution containing lessons from the past that are as important for our present and future.

By Matt Bowden for Love Taipei

Beitou Hot Spring Museum

Entry: Free

Open: 9.00 am – 5.00 pm, Tuesday – Sunday

MRT: New Beitou

No.2, Zhongshan Road, Beitou District, Taipei

Phone: (02) 28939981

Web: http://beitoumuseum.taipei.gov.tw/

  • Bath Tiles
  • Bath House Floor Tiles
  • Film Poster 1
  • Stained Glass Window
  • Left Words, Left Impressions
  • Museum Exterior
  • Main Bath
  • Shoe Rack
  • Bath Tiles Hot Spring Museum Feature Image
  • Beitou Hot Spring Museum Feature Image

Fortress of the Red-Haired

From downtown Taipei, Danshui looks, literally, like the end of the line: it is, after all, the last station on the ‘red’ Tamsui MRT line. Mention the name of this small seaside town and it brings to mind thoughts of romantic strolls along the riverside and watching the sun slowly set over the Taiwan Strait. Unfortunately Danshui’s important historical role as the entry point to the Taipei Basin tends to get lost amidst the snack foods, street performers, and river cruises. In the age of wind and sail, when Taiwan was known to the outside world as a remote, distant and dangerous land, Danshui was, along with Tainan and Jilong, one of the island’s three navigable harbours. Well into the late 19th century Danshui was the first point of contact for those who travelled to the north-west of Taiwan from outside the island, and for a period the town was Taiwan’s busiest port.

The Spanish

Danshui was therefore, after Jilong, one of the two places in Taiwan that the Spanish chose as bases from which to attempt trade with China and Japan. Their fort in Danshui, which they named Santo Domingo, went up in 1629, three years later than its sister fort, San Salvador, near Jilong. Sitting on a small hill with commanding views over the Danshui River, the fort’s strategic location is clear to visitors today, though neither its position nor its high wooden walls stopped the aboriginal inhabitants from nearby settlements from attacking it. One night in 1636 local tribesmen attacked the fort and set it on fire, before killing many of the fleeing Spaniards. The fort was subsequently reinforced with stone, but facing failure in both their colonisation and trading efforts in 1638 the governor-general of the Spanish East Indies in Manila sent orders for the outpost to be scaled back and resources to be consolidated at Jilong.

Danshui Fort San Domingo

The main building of Fort San Domingo, which dates from the Dutch period.

The Dutch

Having been abandoned by the Spanish in 1638, their Dutch rivals soon moved in and established a new fort on the same site. In a remarkable example of historical brown-nosing, they named it Fort Anthony after their boss, the governor of the Dutch East India Company at the time, Anthony van Diemen. While Dutch attempts to build a viable colony and trading post in the north of Taiwan fared better than those of their Spanish predecessors, the results were less successful than in the area surrounding their provincial capital near what is now Tainan. A small garrison was maintained at Fort Anthony, and in one of the Dutch initiatives whose results we see but take for granted today, Han Chinese immigration and permanent settlement in the Danshui area was strongly encouraged.

The Ming

After Zheng Chenggong / Koxinga’s invasion of Taiwan in 1661, Fort Anthony held out for longer than Dutch forces in the south of the island. Yet it was only a matter of time before the Dutch were forced from their northern outposts too and Koxinga’s Ming rebels soon established their own fort, officially calling it Danshui Fort. By that time, however, the fort’s modern nickname was apparently already in use: the Dutch were known by locals as ‘red-haired people’, and their colonial project in Taiwan is commemorated today in the fort’s best-known label Hong Mao Cheng (紅毛城) or ‘Fortress of the Red-Haired’.

The Qing

Following the Zheng family’s brief reign over Taiwan, from 1662 to 1683, and their subsequent surrender to the Manchu Qing Dynasty, Danshui’s fort was appropriated by imperial troops and underwent substantial renovation, adding extra gates, and reinforcing the outer walls. Neither its guns nor its walls were subsequently put to the test, however, and the site was rendered largely superfluous as a military installation as a result of Qing defeats further afield in conflicts with foreign powers, and the treaties which followed.

Danshui former British consulate

The former British consulate building.

The British

With Danshui’s growing importance as one of China’s treaty ports – trading in goods such as tea, camphor, sulphur, coal, and opium – the British established a consulate in the town in 1864. By 1867, the site of the fort was acquired by the British and became their consulate compound, ending nearly 240 years of the fort’s use for military purposes. Deeming the small fort building too cramped and too prone to humidity and termites (and, apparently, too white – they decided to repaint it in its current distinctive red hue) in 1891 a modern colonial building was built adjacent to the fort using bricks imported from Xiamen. The fifth British consul in Danshui was Herbert Allen Giles, and it was there that the linguist did much of his work on the standardised romanization of Mandarin Chinese, which became known as the Wade-Giles system. With a brief interlude during the Second World War, when the consulate was occupied by Japan, the British consulate at Danshui stayed at the fort until 1972. Following that the buildings and grounds were managed briefly by the Australian government, then by the United States government before, in 1980, finally being acquired by the government of the Republic of China. In 1983 the fort was opened to the public as a historical site.

Today

Danshui Former British Consulate floor tiles

The former British consulate building boasts a number of fine decorative details, including these colourful floor tiles.

Whether you’re a history buff or not, it’s tough not to be inspired by Fort San Domingo’s lengthy, multi-faceted past. Indeed, the site’s own unique history condenses many of the broader historical themes of Taiwan’s recent past within one small building, giving those modest red walls an added significance. The architecture alone, with examples from the Dutch period, the Qing Dynasty, and the late 19th century Victorian colonial style makes the fort a fascinating place to walk around and it surely stands out as one of northern Taiwan’s most revealing and best-preserved historical monuments. Pious and fearful Spaniards, marauding tribesmen, capitalist Dutch, victorious Ming rebels, wary Qing bureaucrats, and ambitious Britons – there’s enough food for the historical imagination here to sate any appetite. Luckily tourists, by contrast with previous users of the site, can now enjoy the fort at their leisure, free from fear of attack. Staring out at the splendid views of Guanyin Shan and the Danshui River as it meets the sea it’s easy to forget the fort’s less pleasant previous uses – as watchtower, symbol of intimidation and control, and bastion of colonisation.

Danshui River Sunset

Sunset over the Danshui River.

The fort is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 9am to 5pm, which means that there is unfortunately no chance to watch the Danshui sunsets which must have been one of the few comforts the fort’s historical residents were able to enjoy. Exhibits inside the fort’s tower on the site’s history, while interesting and accessible (explanations are printed in Chinese, Japanese, and English), are by no means comprehensive, and the volunteers manning the museum are perhaps less clued-up than they should or could be. Nevertheless, there are some fascinating prints of old Dutch, Spanish, and Chinese maps and engravings depicting Taiwan, and explanations of the wider historical contexts in which Danshui’s fort was set are both useful and insightful. The Victorian British consulate building has further exhibits detailing the British use of the fort, and many of the rooms contain their original period furniture and layouts. This all makes Fort San Domingo a rewarding excursion and an accessible window into Taiwan’s history. Free entry means that weekdays are probably the best time to see the place, and late afternoon makes for the best light to enjoy the stunning views.

As visitors leave by the main gate of the fort, they may notice seven modest flagpoles, from which hang the flags of Spain, Holland, the United Kingdom, Japan, Australia, the United States, and the R.O.C. In many other countries, sites associated with colonial dominance are often pasted with jingoistic paraphernalia and the celebration of national independence movements. Fort San Domingo’s flags represent a different, very Taiwanese approach to its past; they serve not just as symbols of historical proprietorship over the site, but also appear to represent Taiwan’s very mature, forgiving, and self-confident acceptance of its complex history. Fort San Domingo, Fort Anthony, Fortress of the Red-Haired, Danshui Fort; call it what you will, the fort is undoubtedly a must-see celebration of Taiwan’s rich history.

By Matt Bowden for Love Taipei

Opening Times: Tuesday – Sunday, 9am – 5pm

Entrance: Free

Address: No.1, Alley 30, Zhong Zheng Road, Danshui, New Taipei City 新北市淡水區中正路30巷1號

Phone: 02-6266802

MRT: Danshui

  • Sunset over the Danshui River
  • Former British Consulate at Danshui
  • Colourful Floor Tiles Inside the Former British Consulate
  • Fort San Domingo
  • Fort San Domingo, Danshui