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The statues on the right commemorate the surrender of the Dutch to Koxinga. (RM)  <img src='http://www.guidegecko.com/images/spyglass1.png' align='texttop' /> Click for full image
Travel Guide > Asia > Taiwan > Sights & Attractions

Fort Provintia

  
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Fort Provintia (赤崁樓) was built by the Dutch in 1653 on land purchased from Sirayan aborigines for 15 bolts of cloth. This second VOC fort - actually three inter-connected buildings - was needed because Fort Zeelandia's water supply was insufficient for its growing population. On April 4, 1661, its occupants surrendered to Koxinga just two days after the Ming loyalist attacked the VOC enclave; they were unable to fight on because they had so little drinking water.

Until 1823, when a massive typhoon filled the lagoon between Fort Zeelandia and Taiwan proper with silt, Fort Provintia was an oceanfront property. The bastion's name is sometimes translated as "eternity." This is incorrect, and would be ironic if true, as the Dutch were here for less than a decade. The Chinese name of the fort (often romanized as "Chihkan Tower") derives from the aboriginal toponym, Saccam.

The establishment of the fort jump-started the development of this part of Tainan, leading some to argue than nearby Minquan Road (and not Anping's Yanping Street) is Taiwan's oldest street. What remained of the original stronghold was leveled during the Sino-French War of 1884-85 on the orders of Liu Ming-chuan, who feared the French would seize it and use it as base. Two pagodas now stand atop the massive foundations. In one you'll find some displays about Koxinga; the other serves as a temple. These buildings are not in the least bit Dutch, yet they're highly photogenic. The surrounding garden has several classical Chinese features, including moon-shaped doorways and ponds filled with carp.

The original ground-floor entrance to the fort can be found on the western side of the foundations. The long-gone doors opened outwards, making them less easy to break through with a battering ram. You'll see the imprint of the stairs, and might notice that  - as in many European castles - they spiral up rightwards, giving sword-wielding defenders an advantage. The bricks on the floor are arranged in chevrons so the surface would be less slippery when wet - an important consideration for those arriving by boat.

Directions

Take city bus no. 3 from Tainan TRA Station, or tourist buses nos. 88 or 99. The entrance to the fort is just a few meters from the bus stop.

Type: Monument/Building
Costs: NT$50, Seniors & Students NT$25
Location: Taiwan
Street address: 212, Minzu Road Section 2, West Central District, Tainan City
Nearest public transport: Fort Provintia bus stop
Opening hours: Daily 8am-9:30pm
Telephone: +88662205647







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