In tune with lively places

  • Chi Hsu

Kaohsiung Tenement Tour | 左營古厝散策(2/2)


吉客鏈:先民生活史 X 遊逛歷史現場



Kaohsiung Tenement Tour (Part 2) continued. Clicks here for Part 1.


A Reader comments


Part 1 of the Kaohsiung Tenement Tour travelogue shared couple days ago garnered the comments from Eric Hsu:


  • It might be rough and unplanned, but the expansion of the settlements did follow certain orders: family and landscape. Close family members might live near to each other even when they had to leave their parents' house and build their own. Also, most of the old houses were built facing the Lotus Pond and leaving lanes in-between houses, just like a comb. However, since the "planned" roads ripped through the old settlements and new buildings were erected according to the new roads, the whole streetscapes has gone chaotic.

That's an insider's feedback! I appreciate and hope to share more insights from Dr. Chen's workshop and Mr. Kuo's guided tour. Please allow me to introduce some more of what I learned in the part 2 travelogue.



The Lotus Pond and Seven Baojia Alleys


What I'd like to further introduce is:

  • The most accessible well-known attraction of Kaohsiung is the Lotus Pond.

  • The greatest historical place making of Kaohsiung is the Fongshan Walled City.

  • The most lively people stories of the Lotus Pond and Fongshan Walled City would be in Seven Baojia Alleys.

Potential visitors please note: A (High speed and local rail station), B (the Walled City's welcome centre), C (Lotus Pond) and D (KHS Old House Assn.) on the map below:


(Source: Google)


How close they are to each other!


Lotus Pond - An Exotic Spot for Overseas Travelers


A travel film of an overseas youtuber called Tolt ironically titled - Don't go to Taiwan showed the Lotus Pond and its surrounding temples about 10 times within his 3 mins 41 seconds video.


(Source: Tolt around the world, Youtube)



A Hidden Historical Gem beside Lotus Pond


It is fascinating to see my hometown being seen as special and unique by overseas travelers. Tolt shoots a lots of temples around Lotus Pond into his video. The stories behind the temple scenes illustrate the profound history of Walled City and the people's religions in Seven Baojia Alleys.


If you visited Lotus Pond, please stay longer to see the Walled City and also Seven Baojia Alleys which are less than 10 minutes to walk from the famous Dragon and Tiger Pagodas, and don't be distracted by street food and vendors. (big smile)



A Quick tour: The 5th of Seven Baojia Alleys


Dr. Chen's research indicates that the 5th Baojia Alley where has the highest density of old houses. KHS Old House Assn. itself is located in one of those, allocated in this block.


(Source: Dr. Chen's research)


(Photo Credit | Chi Hsu)


The tenement tour of old houses followed the 5th Baojia Alley(s) - there are many small side alleys. You'll probably get lost if wandered with these artist-style signages.


(Photo Credit | Chi Hsu)


It is better to book a tour with the assn.. Mr. Kuo guided us and Sunny, the tour assistant, provided QR code information while we listened and showed some additional sources. Almost the old houses are private owned properties - some oldies lived in the houses, some rent out for the poorer, some abandoned and some kept as of the family shrine.


Mr. Kuo and Sunny know local stories very well. They have spent a lot of time making friends with local people.



People meet People


Without people, there are no good story. A tenement tour mainly is to hear people's stories. The people's stories are also our ancestors' past.


KHS Old House Assn. people tells people stories. It was pleasing to meet the people and hear these stories. I had a very fruitful weekend with the people.


(Photo Credit | KHS Old House Assn.)



My Learnings


So glad to see my hometown getting lively with such inspiration.

1. The architecture of the ordinary house with Minnan style

  • the houses built on the left hillside of Lotus Pond

  • the main hall hosts the ancestral shrine

  • the 5 elements of feng-sui feature on roof - what the household lacked, was added onto the roof.

  • the plaque of the main gate - shows the place where the house owner originally came from.

  • the raw material of making a wall

  • the partition wall in front of the main yard for privacy and feng-sui


2. The lifestyle of the ordinary people

  • the family's parents and married children lived in the main hall and both side wing rooms.

  • the accessible corridor for grandparents and grandchildren to cheer up.


There will be more funs if you would participate in person!


(Photo Credit | Chi Hsu)



Taiwanderful


People lived in places, lively places and people are the key lines in this story. Taiwan's history starts about 400 years ago, not long but long enough.


(Photo Credit | KHS Old House Assn.)

Taiwan's immigrant history probably should be highlighted and promoted for the tourism industry. The Lotus Pond (and the surrounding region) was the immigrants quarter since the Qing era. A very lively fengsui place for a cultural tour.





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