In tune with lively places

  • Chi Hsu

Old FongShan City - Lotus Pond | 左營舊城蓮潭散步


Time flies. This collage photo comprises the age 5-year and 50-year-old of me at Lotus Pond. The Lotus Pond was the playground and backyard garden of my childhood. The Lotus Pond is also one of the best known attractions in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. A long time ago, before the port city of Kaohsiung came into being the Lotus Pond belonged the city called (Old) FengSan.

(Photo Credit | Dad Hsu - 5-year-old of me, Chi Hsu - others)

Lotus Pond | Well-known attraction in Taiwan

Around the Lotus Pond, local people and overseas tourists come to see pagodas and temples, such as the Dragon and Tiger Pagodas, and the Spring and Autumn Pavilions.

Richard visited Lotus Pond during the Rooster's Chinese New Year (in 2017). He woke up early because of jet lag and had power-walk along the pedestrian circuit of the Lotus Pond. He took his camera to snap the exotic scenery (for him) and told me how impressive they were. (Though I treated them as ordinary subjects.)

(Photo Credit | Richard Barkham)

Historical footstep of Tsoying(歷史的左營腳步)

In early August, I was in reading "Building Shanghai", and somehow the phrase "walled city" became my keyword of searching on internet. An advert for a new book related to my "walled city" search, popped-onto my homepage of Facebook. Historical footstep of Tsoying discusses the latest findings of archeology of the walled city in TSOYING (= ZUOYING)!

This is something very special for me. Those ordinary subjects from my past, are part of Taiwan's history. Taiwan as an isolated island, is a society of immigrants. My dad's generation came from mainland China, but there has been immigration ruled since the Qing Dynasty (1683). The Emperor Kangxi of Qing Dynasty figured out Taiwan as an alternative spot for defense of seaside territory. Afterwards, officially, a Qing's governor assigned from mainland China to Taiwan in order to rule and control local people with good manner.

(Image 1)

Prior to introducing the walled city, where has been acknowledged as the first stone walled city in Taiwan. I'd like to present my playground, its neighborhood where is the old community surrounding Lotus Pond.

A walking tour of old houses around Lotus Pond

Using an old map (book of 歷史的左營腳步) and current one (google snap), it is I saw the old community's streetscape still exists. A few days later, a walking tour of old houses began to be promoted on Facebook. My heart felt beaten fast when I saw this event. It is quite interesting to explore the place I thought was ordinary. I registered my mum's name and myself, later on, plus my nephew.

(Image 2: Mapping source: 歷史的左營腳步 pp153 | google)

The upper right snap shows the old walled city in the southwestern area of the Lotus Pond. On the left side of Lotus Pond was the community location with marketplaces, temples and schools including Confucius school (temple) as well as residences.

[History Note] Since 1683, Taiwan's capital was in Tainan (not Taipei) for 200+ years. As shown below, most merchants/officers were heading northward to Tainan. Therefore, old community developed and built on the north area of the walled city.

(Image 3 | Source: Slideshare)

This area is reviving. In the old community region, there are some old house and temple being renovated before the walled city properly re-constructed. Well-preserved (renovated) old houses turn into a great-atmosphere guest houses or cafes. It seems the best way to retain historical property with operating revenue, in order to cover its maintenance cost.

Kuo Old House

Kuo Old House was located in a central but hidden alley of old community (see image 2) and was the first stop of walking tour at that day. We looked forward to seeing it. The first sight was very thrilling as I also saw the signage of Kaohsiung Old House Culture Association (高雄市古厝文化協會). I like to visit the heritage and historical sites around the world, yet I wasn't aware that my birthplace was also tuning to a lively historical destination. While the tour guider explained the old house's architecture and local history, my mum was highly interested. So was I. But, how about 8-year-old boy, my nephew, was doing? He half-listened, half-played and looked for any iced drink. (Good for him. It was too hot in August.)

(Photo Credit | Upper left - tour organizer, others - Chi Hsu)

Old Community remained alleys

I love side street and alley where reveal people's lifestyle and past footsteps. Over hundreds of years, the streetscape here seems to have remained the same, sadly perhaps because of less care of urban development in the past. Luckily, we are still able to see the original old community now.

(Photo Credit | Chi Hsu)

Confucius Temple initiated in 1684

Confucius passed in 479 B.C.E., was being appointed as Duke WenXuan in 739 (Tang Dynasty) by Emperor Xuanzong. Confucius temple was built in every state also ruled by Emperor Xuanzong of Tang Dynasty.

After Qing's governor was assigned to FengSan (old name of Tsoying), he did the same development for local society in 1684. It was essential to build a Confucius school (temple) to educate people (to honor Confucius). This one was the first Confucius temple built by Qing Dynasty in Taiwan. Till now, the last part of heritage has remained inside of Jiou-cheng primary school. As well as 9 stone inscriptions allocated behind the heritage of temple.

(Photo Credit | Chi Hsu)

Our guider said there is one significant - only 4 existed in Qing's Taiwan. It is so-called "horse-descending tablet" meaning any passing horse rider should descend from their horses in front of the temple to show respect. It told how important the Confucius temple was. Sadly, the one which remains (in red below) in Tsoying, is only erected outdoors there without any glass or shelter to protect. We felt sad and sorry, too. Hope some solution goes to those very soon.

(Photo Credit | Chi Hsu)

In 1976, another Confucius Temple was built by Kaohsiung government as the biggest one in modern Taiwan. The new layout of architecture was based on the Liu Song dynasty temple design as well as the design of the Qufu Temple of Confucius.

Richard had also dropped by and snapped it. Richard is a professor of university and I told him how respected it is to be a teacher in ancient China. He heard about Confucius and amazed Tsoying is actually a part of this traditional spirit and educational cradle.

(Photo Credit | Richard Barkham)

Round-Lotus-Pond Culture Tour (Shuttle) Bus

While visiting Lotus Pond and Tsoying walled city, it is convenient to take the shuttle bus. Setting off from New Tsoying train station, 8 stops loop goes to most of main attractions around Lotus Pond every hour from 10:00am to 18:00pm.

I took my mum to get on bus the other day. It's a quite new experience for her since she was born in Tsoying. (Yes, she is a typical local people with 72 years lived in Tsoying.) She just now realizes the history behind the place.

So, even if you had been here before, come again for historical purpose. For more information about walled city, please see my next travelogue. >> Old FengShan City | The First Stone Walled City in Taiwan

#ChiHsu #Taiwan #Tsoying #Heritage #Kaohsiung

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