South's Anping Park : NEW MUSEUMS IN OLD ANPING
Text & photos by Steven Crook Translated by Ann Lee
For a place that depends on antiquity and history to attract tourists, Anping sure changes quickly. Most, but not all, of these changes are positive.
To the dismay of preservationists, YanPing Street－said to be the oldest road in Taiwan－was widened in the early 1990s. For years afterward, the appearance of this thoroughfare was spoiled by the various abandoned buildings that had been wrecked in the process.
The street is now tidy and conspicuously prosperous, and it boasts two of the four small museums that reveal aspects of Anping's long history. These places are an excellent refuge if it's raining, or if the sun is too strong for comfort.
The names of the Anping Cultural Assets Museum (tel. 86, AnPing Rd; 220-6799; open Sat/Sun only), and Luo's Taiwanese Folkore Collection (132, AnPing Rd; tel. 0929-692-221, call for hours), pretty much tell passersby what to expect inside.
Tainan Canal, which in recent years has been cleaned up, used to be an important transportation route between the coast and the city. The very new Canal Museum (97-15, AnPing Rd; open Sat/Sun only) tells this waterway's story. The museum is inside a 78-year-old former Customs building.
If you've already visited Anping Old Fort, you'll know parts of it were made using oyster-shell cement. Nowadays, oysters are regarded solely as food. Until the early part of the 20th century, however, oyster-shell cement was used in house construction and boat building. To find out more about this construction process, visit the Anping Oyster Shell Cement Kiln Museum (110-1, AnBei Rd; tel. 228-6836; open Tues-Sun), which opened in 2004.
In addition to these places, there are historical displays inside Anping Old Fort, the Tait & Co. building, and some of the district's other landmarks.
Getting to Anping
If you're driving, finding parking near Yanping Street isn't difficult. Alternatively, take City Bus No. 2 from the Tainan Railway Station or the Confucius Temple.