Taiwan and China

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Located in the southern part of Taiwan, the city of Kaohsiung is the island's largest industrial centre which continues to prosper and expand as an emerging international metropolis. Centuries ago, Kaohsiung was called Dagou or Dahgu, translated from the name of local aborigines. Disturbed by the violence of pirates in the area, in 1563, the Takuo tribe eventually moved to the site of present day Pingtung city. This name persisted until 1920, when the city's name was changed to Kaohsiung.


Fo Guang shan (Light of Buddha Mountain)

Founded in 1967 by the Venerable Master Hsing Yun, the order promotes Humanistic Buddhism. The site is situated immediately behind the main temple and covers more than 100 hectares. The complex faces east and is built along a central axial line. There is the Welcoming Hall, the eight Chinese-styled pagodas that stand for the Noble Eightfold Path, Photo Terrace, Bodhi Square, Memorial Hall, four stupas that symbolize the Four Noble Truths, and the Fo Guang Buddha.


The Memorial Centre houses the Buddha’s tooth relic that was presented to Venerable Master Hsing Yun by the Tibetan Lama, Kunga Dorje Rimpoche, who had kept the relic in his safekeeping for 30 years. It was presented in 1998, following the Bodhgaya International Full Ordination held by Hsing Yun in India. This drew the attention of Kunga Dorje.



Former British Consulate

This is the oldest western style building in Taiwan. It is in a Baroque style of the Renaissance era. In 1860 the Treaty of Peking forced the Quing government of Taiwan (then Formosa) to open up the ports of Takao (now Kaohsiung), An-Ping (Tainan), Tamsui and Keelung to foreign trade. As the largest empire of the time Britain was one of the first western countries to establish a consulate. The consulate was designed by a British engineer and built in 1865 by Chinese craftsmen employed by the Tien-li Company (also known as McPhail & Co.) It overlooks Takao Harbour and the materials were brought over from the city of Amoy (now Xiamen) on Mainland China. It was rented by the British Government in 1867.


In 1909, the Japanese government of Taiwan claimed the right to all foreign consulates in Taiwan and the British consulate was closed the next year. In 1931 the building was converted into an "Ocean Observatory" by the Japanese viceroy. Although the walls of the consulate were painted with white cement in 1944 to avoid U.S. bombing attacks, the building saw very little action during the Second World War and does not appear to have been used for any important purpose. It was converted again to a Weather Bureau Observatory in 1945, shortly before the Empire of Japan relinquished all claims to the island and Taiwan was returned to the Republic of China, and it remained in that state for the next forty-one years. In 1986 the Kaohsiung municipal government commissioned Professor Li Chien Lang to restore the former consulate as a museum in which to store historic documents and cultural products, infact, it now contains mostly informational displays.


Sizih Bay (Sizihwan)

The bay is on the western edge of Kaohsiung City, just southwest of Mt. Longevity, with the Qijin Peninsuna stretching southward. Its main feature is a swimming beach known for its clear blue water, the beauty of its sunsets, and its natural reef. The long breakwater is the landmark of Sizih Bay.


Spring and Autumn Pavilions, Lotus Lake

Lotus Lake is noted for its profusion of temples, with the Confucius Temple at its northern edge and, in the south, the Dragon and Tiger Pagodas and the Spring and Autumn Pavilions. The lake is both serene and spectacular.


Two massive pavilions dedicated to Kuan Kung, the God of War, the Spring and Autumn Pavilions were completed in 1951. In front of the pavilions is a statue of Kuanyin, the Goddess of Mercy, riding a dragon. According to legend, Kuanyin appeared above the clouds riding on a dragon, signifying that believers must erect an image depicting this event between "pavilions of summer and autumn".