Golden City's Agreeable Manners
-Pictures and words by Taipei County
Translated by Tre Gordon
More than three years ago, the current
curator of the Gold Ecological Park met with his partners
in a mountain city located in Taiwan's northeastern
corner. Their plan was to put their vitality and creativity
to use to re-introduce this place to the world. Now,
they can proudly announce, "We've done it!"
If you're curious about what it was that fascinated
them enough to do this, join us on a trip to the Jiguashi
Gold Ecological Park and discover for yourself the magic
this place possesses.
First, let's take the train to the
Rueifang railroad station. Across the street from the
rail station is the Keelung bus station. We can reach
the Gold Ecological Park directly from here by bus.
Along the way, you notice that the scenery around you
gradually changes from busy streets to emerald-green
mountainsides. At one turn, the blue ocean suddenly
appears before you. To your astonishment, the Gold Ecological
Park also suddenly appears, as you marvel at the fresh
air surrounding you.
The Gold Ecological Park is located
in northeastern Taiwan at Jiguashi in Taipei County's
Rueifang township. It's a mining mountain city situated
on a three-sided circular mountain with one side facing
the ocean. In the past, it represented a bright spot
in the history of Taiwan's mining industry. Today, the
Gold Ecological Park combines the richness of the area's
natural ecology and the mining industry's cultural history
to present this destination to the world as a natural,
The park revolves around three main buildings: the Environmental
Education Center, the Crown Prince Chalet and the Museum
of Gold. The Environmental Education Building, which
was reconstructed from an old office building, introduces
to us Jiguashi's ecological environment and geological
ore-body characteristics. One can also find out where
the gold in Jiguashi came from. Located on the second
floor of this building is a theatre and special exhibition
area. In addition to showing a park overview film, special
exhibitions held here at unscheduled times are a special
surprise, like finding a lost treasure. On June, 23
the park will be holding a special exhibition for its
Gold Carnival, "The Fundamental Metal Craft Technical
Talents Training Class". This allows visitors the
opportunity to peek into the world of various metals.
The Crown Prince Chalet is a typical
Japanese high-class-style building constructed in 1922.
The Japanese courtyard in the front is elegantly designed
and in the backyard you can see a mini golf course.
The first floor of the Museum of Gold was remodeled
to present the mining history and culture of Jiguashi.
There are also proportionate tunnel models of the mines
taking you on a journey of gold discovery in Jinguashi.
On the second floor, you will find art works mainly
created around a gold theme, while admiring exquisite
art created by some of Taiwan's most renowned metal
artists. You can also personally touch a world record-breaking
99.9% pure-gold nugget weighing 200.3 kg. Feel like
taking it home? You'd better reconsider that idea because
the nugget is under 24-hour surveillance, as cameras
connected to the Internet allow for round-the-clock
viewing of the nugget. Purchase a ticket for the cheap
price of NT$100 and you can visit all three of these
sites--an unbeatable deal.
You shouldn't go home
empty-handed after visiting this golden mountain city.
The Gold Ecological Park allows you to experience firsthand
the conditions of working in a mine. The park has the
BenShan Fifth Tunnel Experience and the Gold-Panning
Experience for you to try out, as you go into the tunnels
for a real-life experience. You can also take part in
simulated early-mining work and take home any gold powder
that you happen to discover while panning for gold.
After you've finished visiting the
park, you can follow the path next to BenShan Fifth
Tunnel and arrive at the "Remains of the Gold Temple"
site. Accompanying you along the way is the beauty of
Jiguashi's natural environment. Standing in front of
the temple remains, you can take the time to admire
the history of the village here. Then follow along the
ancient steps of the Old Chitang Alley, known as "Jiguashi's
Little Ginza", and admire distant roofs made with
overlapping black oiled felt. You will also notice many
historical merchant stores here, helping take you back
to the old days. Inside the stores there are old-fashioned
alcohol and tobacco display cases and visitors shouldn't
miss a delicious local treat, handmade grass cakes.
It's worthwhile for you to spend some
time in Jiguashi and enjoy your interaction with nature.
You can choose to spend a night in the facilities here
and enjoy a unique evening experience in a mountain
city. After a good night's rest, set out to randomly
discover the various remains of mining sites like the
"Remains of the 13 Levels", which resemble
the ancient city of Pompeii. In the past, this was an
important mine sorting field. To get there, start from
the Shueinandong Parking Lot and follow the Jin-Shui
Highway upwards. After about 15 minutes, you'll be able
to see the "Gold Waterfalls" which appear
to be golden in the sunlight. Follow the fork in the
road and reach the area above the "Remains of the
13 Levels", where you can admire the view of the
Yinyang seaside and the "Abandoned Smoke Tunnel"
It's difficult to describe, but a visit
to Jiguashi and experiencing its unique charm bring
the same magical charm that the the park curator and
his friends first enjoyed there. A visit to Jiguashi
Gold Ecological Park will help you experience for yourself
the unique appeal that this ancient mountain city possesses.
For related information, please visit the Gold Ecological
Park's website at http://www.gep.tpc.gov.tw