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
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
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".