In tune with lively places

  • Chi Hsu

Jioufen。九份 | A Mining Village nearby Taipei


吉客鏈:水金九地景 X 夜。九份 X 十三層遺址 X 煤礦史蹟


Jioufen located on the north coast of Taiwan, is a mountain village in New Taipei City. My first visit was about 30 years ago and the latest was last October.


Past and Now


Jioufen became a highly recommended tourist attraction in after the documentary 'A City of Sadness' was released in 1989. The movie director caught the sense of 'sadness' significantly. Jioufen became a heritage location for the gold/coal mining with many preserved various historical features. (For further info see WIKI, click here.)


The B/W and night photographs murmur the sadness and the authentic mining industry. I attempted to feel Jioufen in B/W vibe last October during a visit with my sister and her family. An over night stay at a guest house, gave us a chance to see the early morning and night view of Jioufen.

North Coast Line of Taiwan, taken from Jioufen. (Photo Credit | Chi Hsu)

Mountain community in Jioufen (Photo Credit | Chi Hsu & Michelle Hsu)


Rush Hours in Jioufen Old Street


The miners' old houses are now renovated as shops and restaurants in the mountain village of Jioufen. As a local person living in the greater Taipei, we're often not keen to visit there during the weekends or holidays or even for a day trip.


Super rush hours are full of tourists in the old street of Jioufen. (Photo Credit | Chi Hsu)


Yet, after rush hours, Jioufen is a very peaceful and charming mountain village.

A window view from Jioufen's guest house. (Photo Credit | Chi Hsu)

(Photo Credit | Chi Hsu)


heritage of Mining industry


This travelogue was inspired by some amazing coal power related sites where have been renovated into lively places in London, Battersea Power Station (refers to this link) and Coal Drops Yard (refers to this link). The heritage sites of mining industry transformed beautifully. During this lockdown period, I recalled my little trip of Jioufen and thought its coal mining history worthy of sharing with international tourists.


My first impression of the mining industry was the darkness tunnel and the polluted air as well as the sad story shown in 'A City of Sadness'. I'd wanted to study more English references so I googled the key words of 'coal mining'. One result was from the Future Learn platform (Note 1). There I found a program called "WORKING LIVES IN THE COAL MINES" run by UNIVERSITY OF STRATHCLYDE, which seems very interesting so I registered and started the course.


Chapter 1 states "Britain was the first country to have an ‘industrial revolution’. This is where people’s jobs shifted from working on the land in small villages to working in jobs like coal mining and factories producing clothing, iron and steel, ships and machines. In the nineteenth century these growing industries required fuel to power machinery."


The two maps show the coalfields of Taiwan and Britain. Britain was fortunate to have enough coal mines to support its industrial revolution. It isn't hard to imagine why London, which was built on the industrial revolution, keeps a lots of its coal heritages. The facilities delivery, drop, restore the coal supplies.


(Map source | https://stv.moe.edu.tw/wp-content//uploads.video/2015/06/110_3f_S01.pdf & WORKING LIVES IN THE COAL MINES)



Lively Jioufen and its surroundings


In the same was as London's coal mining industrial renovation (click the links of Battersea Power Station and Coal Drops Yard), Jioufen's surroundings preserve the coal, gold, sulfur and copper mining heritage places (See the mapping above). Recently it has also renovated projects, such as: Remains of the 13 Levels.


(Mapping source | Google)

(Mines and miners Vlog credit | Chi Hsu)


Remains of the 13 Levels


The 13 Levels is a former copper and gold smelter factory and local people called it the Potala Palace on mining mountain. Built in 1933, ceased operations in 1973 and closed in 1981 like may British coal mines. (More refers to Wiki) Taiwan Power took over its ownership in 80's and created renovation program as public art architecture in 2017. It spent 2 years re-building its power supply infrastructure and to light the whole site on the night of mid-autumn festival in 2019. (It light up at 18:00 - 21:00 everyday.)


There are some hiking trails around this historical site. A beautiful landscape of Jioufen area can be discovered and blue ocean view is always beside or behind you.

(Photo Credit | Michelle Hsu)



Sheng-Ping Theatre - A City of Sadness


As the earliest wealthy place in north Taiwan because of gold mining, Jioufen had its glorious era. Leisure hours were always essential on a wealthy community so the oldest theatre in north Taiwan is located in Jioufen. It was called 'Sheng-Ping Theatre' in the Japanese era.


The movie "A City of Sadness" was also shot in this venue. So many local tourists visit to have a glance. An international tourist should also visit to have a glimpse.


(Photo Credit | Chi Hsu)


Shortcut stairs hidden in the mountain village


Jioufen's beauty is hidden and away from the crowd. Walking up the shortcut stairs beside the buildings we sensed the go-home route of miners after a long harsh day.


(Photo Credit | Chi Hsu)



(Note 1) Future Learn platform's goal is "Learn 100% online with world-class universities and industry experts. Develop your career, learn a new skill, or pursue your hobbies with flexible online courses."

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