Fri, Dec 01, 2017 - Page 13 News List

Off the Beaten Track: Charming Changhua: Taiwan’s other historic city

Changhua City is almost as rich in history as Tainan, yet most of its many attractions are overlooked

By Richard Saunders  /  Contributing Reporter

The museum, closed Mondays, provides a Chinese introduction to the events, with lots of photos and audio-visuals. It’s laid out partly in the network of air-raid shelters and tunnels that riddle the hillside.

In 1965 a total of 679 human skeletons were unearthed on the slopes of nearby Baguashan, close to where the Big Buddha stands today. They are the remains of locals who died here during the fierce battle against the invading Japanese army. The 1895 Anti-Japanese Martyrs’ Memorial Park (抗日烈士紀念公園, also called Peace Memorial Park) was built on the site to commemorate the dead. A large ceremonial gate marks the entrance, on Guashan Road (八卦路), a few hundred meters east of the Big Buddha, while inside are two Qing Dynasty cannons — all that remains of a fort that once stood here.

A few meters further along Gongyuan Road past the library is another of the city’s impressive Japanese-era structures, the Butokuden (武德殿). Built in 1930, it was one of a series of buildings built to teach martial arts to Japanese police officers. Next to it is a much older edifice, the Jiesiao Shrine (節孝祠), yet another of Changhua’s many old temples, but one with a difference — said to be the only one in Taiwan dedicated to chaste ladies.

Richard Saunders is a classical pianist and writer who has lived in Taiwan since 1993. He’s the founder of a local hiking group, Taipei Hikers, and is the author of six books about Taiwan, including Taiwan 101 and Taipei Escapes. Visit his Web site at

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