Tue, Jul 19, 2016 - Page 4 News List

Tainan mulls applying for walls’ heritage status

By Liu Wan-chun and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

People walk on Duiyuemen, a small gate that was originally part of Tainan’s outlying walls and a second-class national historic site, on Tuesday last week.

Photo: Liu Wan-chun, Taipei Times

The Tainan Cultural Affairs Bureau is mulling filing a bulk application with the Ministry of Culture for all seven wall and gate segments that used to form the walls surrounding old Tainan city to be considered national heritage sites, in preparation for the 300th anniversary of the city’s founding.

The bureau said it would apply through the Tainan City Heritage Association for a review, followed by an application to the ministry if the review is passed.

It has become increasingly common worldwide for cities to make a comprehensive assessment of old city walls, the bureau said, adding that, despite Tainan being Taiwan’s earliest city, only one gate is considered a national heritage site, compared with Kaohsiung’s old Fengshan city (鳳山) and old Taipei, which are both national heritage sites.

The city government said that it last year completed investigations of all wall and gate segments in the city.

Division of Cultural Assets Director Lin Chiao-in (林喬彬) said that it is easy for old city walls to disappear as cities develop and that efforts must be made to preserve such sites, which contain rich history and culture.

Streets and alleys that used to lie behind the walls form not only the residential areas and places of activity for modern-day Tainan residents, but also draw tourists, both foreign and domestic, to visit the municipality, Lin said.

“We hope that by designating these wall and gate segments as national heritage sites, we might bring the people of Tainan and its visitors closer to the history of the city,” Lin said.

Meanwhile, the bureau said that aside from visible sections, there were other sections of walls buried underground, adding that the bureau still hopes to one day reconnect the segments.

The city government is to begin general planning after its application is accepted by the ministry, the bureau said.

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