lugang: of pirates and south china seas

鹿港 (Lugang) is one of the oldest port cities in Taiwan. The winding network of alleys, streets, and boulevards knits together Ming and Qing Dynasty pirates, southern Chinese merchant families, and the influx of Nationalist troops and their families. Over 200 shrines and temples punctuate these pathways, and two of the oldest temples on the island — Matzu (1725) and Longshan (1786) — are in wonderful condition because well cared for. With industrialization and GMT rule, the importance of Lugang to the island economy has lessened, with inland Taichung gaining importance as Taipei shifted cosmographic ordering on Taiwan. Consequently, the city’s layout gives an impressive sense of the urban form of South Chinese port cities during the roughly 500 years that piracy threatened trade ships, their crews and cargo. Just recently, however, Lugang has been reintroduced to world as one of Taiwan’s top tourist destinations and the site of many traditional festivals, including Double 5th (dragon boats) and Mid-autumn (mooncakes). Worth a visit. Impressions, below:

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