Tue, Sep 30, 2014 - Page 4 News List

Restored lighthouse is new tourist site

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

The newly renovated Kaomei Lighthouse towers over the Gaomei Wetlands in Greater Taichung’s Cingshuei District yesterday.

Photo: CNA

The Kaomei Lighthouse (高美燈塔), on the bank of the Dajia River (大甲溪) on the northern side of the Port of Taichung, is set to become a new tourist attraction, after renovation work was recently completed by the Maritime and Port Bureau.

The lighthouse was officially opened to tourists on Saturday, becoming one of 10 lighthouses nationwide, out of 35, that are open to the public.

Previously, the lighthouses were managed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Customs Administration. The Ministry of Transportation and Communications took over the management last year, and decided to turn some of them into tourist attractions.

Built in 1967 with steel reinforced concrete, the Kaomei Lighthouse has an octagonal structure and is the only one in the country painted with red and white stripes, the bureau said.

Visitors can see the wind power generators and Kaomei Wetlands (高美濕地) from the lighthouse, the bureau added.

The lighthouse stopped operations in 1982, when the lighting equipment was moved to the top floor of Far Eastern Silo and Shipping Corp, also known as the lighthouse in the Port of Taichung, the bureau said.

The Kaomei Lighthouse continued to exist without the lighting equipment, and many people have mistaken the 34m-high lighthouse as an incinerator chimney.

According to Yeh Luen-huei’s (葉倫會) Stories of Lighthouses in Taiwan (台灣燈塔的故事), the property on which the lighthouse was located also has a fountain, which is 1.5m deep and 6m in diameter.

His research showed that the water in the fountain used to shoot up about 3m because of the strong water pressure. Children were allowed to enter the property to play baseball and swim in the fountain.

However, after the 921 Earthquake in 1999, the groundwater stopped coming out of the fountain.

Aside from the lighthouse, visitors to the site can also see a rare flower called Chinese Spiranthes, a type of orchid.

When it is blooming, the flower will wrap around the stem like a dragon, the bureau said, adding that the flowers give out a light fragrance as well.

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