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About Kaohsiung
 

 

  • Knowing Kaohsiung

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  • History

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In the 15th Year of the Yongli Era (1661) during the Ming Dynasty, the Wan-Nien County government was located in Singlongjhuang’s Bizihtou. This is now the site of Zuoying Old Town. Areas such as Zuoying, Youchang, Houjin, Cianjhen and Nanzih are all settlements from that period. When the Ching Dynasty took over, these areas were under the administration of Fongshan County. The government remained in the Old Town until 1788, when it was relocated to Fongshan City in Kaohsiung County.


The earliest Han settlers built homesteads in Cihou. The settlements then expanded to areas such as Cianjin, Dagangbu, Wukuaicuo, Lizihnei and Lingyaliao. The fishing and marine trade began near the end of Ching Dynasty in 1862. Shaochuantou and Cihou became large ports for trade. It was then Kaohsiung gradually began growing into a city and its importance to Taiwan began to immerge. 


Originally Kaohsiung was simply a large bamboo thicket inhabited by the Makatau tribe. They had named the area “Takou”. During the Japanese Colonial period the Takou Office was located on Cijin Street. The Takou Branch Office of the Tainan Governor was moved to Shaochuantou. In 1920, the Japanese established a Kaohsiung State. The name Kaohsiung comes from the Chinese pronunciation of the Japanese written form of “Takou”. In 1924, the area was renamed Kaohsiung City. This was when Kaohsiung officially became a city. In 1979, it was recognized as Taiwan’s second municipality.

 

  • Geography

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Kaohsiung is located Taiwan’s Southwestern region and is a long narrow stretch of land. Its total area consists of 2,946 square kilometers. Chianan and Pingtung plains are located on the north and east sides. The Taiwan Straits are located to the west and the Bashi Channel to the south.
Geographically it is in an ideal location. The large harbor makes it an important trade and commerce stop along the Northeast Asia / South Pacific passageway. This has quickly propelled the development of this international city.


Kaohsiung has an international airport with direct flights to a variety of Asian cities. Other international cities can be reached by transferring at C.K.S. International Airport in Taoyuan. There are approximately 50 flights a day between Taipei and Kaohsiung. The flight takes approximately 50 minutes. The Zihciang express train takes 270 minutes and inter-city buses 300 minutes.

 

  • Climate

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Kaohsiung City is located in the southwestern part of the island of Taiwan. The city, which lies almost entirely south of the Tropic of Cancer, has a tropical monsoon climate, dry in the winter, hot and wet in the summer and autumn. Because Kaohsiung is next to the Taiwan Strait, climatic changes are not dramatic, thanks to the moderating effect of the ocean. Temperatures are generally lowest in January and February, with averages ranging from 19.9 to 21.5°C, and hottest from June to August, with averages of 28.3 to 29.5°C. The average temperature for the whole of 2010 was 25.1°C.

For 11 months out of every year the average temperature exceeds 20°C. The lowest temperature recorded in January of 2011 in low-elevation areas of Kaohsiung was 10.9°C, which is exceptionally cold for this area. Kaohsiung City gets more sunshine than any other place in Taiwan, with an annual average of nearly 200 hours per month. Due to the effects of the southwest monsoon, the rainy season is concentrated in the period from May to September.

From October through March, because the northeast monsoon is blocked by mountains, there is a dry season that lasts six months. There are typhoons each year in summer and autumn. According to Central Weather Bureau statistics, an average of three to four typhoons hit Taiwan annually, mainly in the period from July to September. These have always brought heavy rains, but with the increasing frequency of extreme weather events in recent years, precipitations exceeding 500 millimeters in a single day have been recorded. For example, during both Typhoon Morakot in 2009 and Typhoon Fanapi in 2010, Kaohsiung City experienced record-breaking rainfall.

 

  • Art&Culture 

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Abundant resources of ocean, mountain and forest, and a diverse mix of different communities, have formed the extraordinarily vibrant and multifaceted character of art and culture in Kaohsiung. Walk along this city’s streets or through its subway stations, and everywhere you can see the elegance and beauty of its public infrastructure, street furniture, public art and urban architecture. The concept of urban development is based on concern for humanity and the pursuit of aesthetic values. This is most clearly manifested in the design of the bridges that link Kaohsiung’s people together. On the lower reaches of the 12-kilometer-long Love River, Jhongjheng Bridge and Kaohsiung Bridge bind together the riverside parks to create local people’s favorite waterfront area. On the river’s middle reaches, the heart-shaped lakes and curving bridges of the “Heart of Love River” elegantly trace out the lines of the city; the project won a FIABCI Prix d’Excellence Award in 2009. But the river’s most radiant high note is the Bridge of Light in Riverside Park, one of the locations where director Tsai Ming-liang shot his movie The Wayward Cloud. Then there is Rueiyuan Bridge on the Singfuchuan canal, full of a sense of the rhythm of the waves; the simple, clean beauty of Yicyun Bridge on the Houjin River; the scenic Sinwei Bridge; and the single-tower cable-stayed bridge that carries the Second Freeway over the Gaoping River. This arresting structure stands like a rainbow, or a butterfly stretching its wings, full of power and beauty.

Kaohsiung also displays a unique urban aesthetic in the area of public transportation. The innovative shared poles for traffic lights and streetlamps stretch their wings like seagulls, bringing a fresh and striking atmosphere to the streets both and day and night, and illuminating the city’s dreams. And the unique designs of the Kaohsiung MRT stations, along with the city’s public art works, turn the urban space into an art gallery. For example, at Formosa Boulevard station, the aboveground station structure, designed by Japanese architect Shin Takamatsu, is shaped like hands clasped in prayer; while in the station concourse the “Dome of Light” created by Italian artist Narcissus Quagliata is the world’s largest public art work made of glass. Both are moving and awe-inspiring works.

 

 

  • Map of Kaohsiung's Eleven Administative Districts

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Data source : Urban Development Bureau, Kaohsiung City Government, Kaohsiung Travel Online