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Historical Sites and Landscapes
National historic site: Fort Provintia (Chihkan Tower)
Chihkan Tower

History

    In 1653, the 7th year of Emperor Yongli’s reign in the Ming dynasty, Dutch invaders built Fort Provintia in southern Taiwan, across an inland sea from Fort Zeelandia in Anping. The Dutch made Fort Zeelandia the center of their colonial power, and Fort Provintia a hub of administrative and commercial activities.

    Fort Provintia comprises three square-shaped bases joined to one another; upon each perches a Western-style structure. The walls are made of red bricks as the main material and a mixture of water, sugar, glutinous rice and oyster shells as the adhesive, for durability that has lasted more than 300 years, as exemplified by the remains of thick walls and arches.
A phenomenal structure with upturned eaves and red tiles, Chihkan Tower has proved to be versatile over more than three centuries: it was a Western castle when Taiwan was under Dutch rule, a Chinese-style pagoda in the Qing Dynasty, an army hospital for the Japanese colonists, and currently a museum testifying to the past glory.

    In 1983, Chihkan Tower was designated a Class-1 historic site by the Ministry of the Interior.

Timeline of Chihkan Tower (Fort Provintia)

1625: The Dutch colonists gave indigenous Taiwanese 500 meters  of fabrics in exchange for a piece of land in Chihkan, where they built Provintia Street to accommodate businesses, marketplaces, warehouses and hospitals.

1653: After an anti-colonial uprising led by Guo Huai-yi (Gouqua Faij-it), the Dutch erected Fort Provintia in Chihkan as a defensive work, as well as a hub for commercial and administrative activities. Commonly referred to as “Redheads’ Castle” or “Building of Westerners”, Fort Provintia was later renamed Chihkan Tower.  

1862: A massive earthquake struck central and southern Taiwan, demolishing the already-damaged Dutch structures of Chihkan Tower.  

1875: In the aftermath of the Mudan Incident, Shen Baozhen led Qing troops to Taiwan and, for safer navigation in waters around the island, pleaded with the Emperor to approve his plan of erecting a Haishen (Poseidon) Temple on top of Chihkan Tower ruins. For unspecified reasons, the temple project was postponed and eventually left unfinished. 

1886: To encourage education, Taiwan County Magistrate Shen Shouqian built the Penghu Academy to the west of Chihkan Tower; erected Wuzi Temple (dedicated to five Song-dynasty scholars: Zhu Xi, Cheng Hao, Cheng Yi, Zhang Zai and Zhou Dunyi) and Wenchang Pavilion atop the fort ruins; and restored Haishen Temple. 

1895: The Japanese started colonial rule in Taiwan and converted Chihkan Tower into the Japanese Army Garrison Hospital. 

1944: The Japanese colonists began to restore the Dutch castle, demolish the Dashi Hall and renovate the hallways of Haishen Temple, Wenchang Pavilion and Penghu Academy. 

1960: The imperial Steles and Tortoise Footings inside the Great South Gate were moved to the south of Chihkan Tower’s foundation.

1965: In an attempt to restore Chihkan Tower, the wooden frameworks of both Haishen Temple and Wenchang Pavilion were replaced by reinforced concrete, with the wooden patterns on pillars and beams preserved through replication. The pavilion’s Chihkan Street-facing front entrance was also moved onto Minzu Road. 

Visitor Information

Admission: Full Price NT$50; Discount NT $25
Opening Hours: 8:30 A.M. to 9:30 P.M. 

Historic Site Inquiries: (06)390-1341 / 295-5703
Chihkan Tower: (06)220-5647
Address: No. 212, Sec. 2, Minzu Rd, West Central Dist., Tainan City