Two of the nation’s historic lighthouses are scheduled to be opened to tourists in September, the Maritime and Harbor Bureau said over the weekend.
There are 34 lighthouses on Taiwan proper and its outlying islands, but only six are open to the public: the ones in Yuwengdao (漁翁島), Penghu County; in Dongjudao (東莒島); Dongyin Island (東引島), Lienchiang County (Matsu); Oluanpi (鵝鑾鼻), Pintung County; Cape San Diego (三貂角), New Taipei City (新北市); and in Greater Kaohsiung.
The Customs Administration under the Ministry of Finance managed the lighthouses until last year. Starting in January this year, the operation of the lighthouses is being overseen by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications’ Maritime and Harbor Bureau.
Since taking charge, the bureau has been working to turn some of the lighthouses into tourist attractions.
The two lighthouses to be opened to the public in September are on Green Island (綠島) in Taitung County and Baishachia (白沙岬) in Taoyuan County.
Information from the Customs Administration showed that the lighthouse on Green Island was built in 1939 following the 1938 sinking of the SS President Hoover cruise ship owned by the American President Line shipping company.
The American Red Cross funded the building of the lighthouse to thank the residents of Green Island for helping rescue more than 1,000 passengers from the shipwreck, but the tower was destroyed in a air strike during World War II.
The government restored the lighthouse in 1948, replacing the kerosene-powered incandescent lights with electric flashlights operating on direct currents.
The lighthouse can flash a white light twice every 10 seconds, with a 2,600 candlepower intensity.
The administration upgraded the lighting system at the Green Island Lighthouse in 1973 to rotating mirror lights operating on alternating current electricity that flash twice every 20 seconds, and have 1 million candlepower.
The Baishachia Lighthouse in Taoyuan was built in 1898 using materials that were transported from what is now New Taipei City’s Tamsui District (淡水).
The construction of the round, brick lighthouse was completed in 1901 and the Taoyuan County Government designated the building a historic monument in 2002.
In 1955, the Baishachia Lighthouse’s lighting system was changed to electric rotating mirror lights, which alternate between red and white lights every 20 seconds.