Mother Nature always has the winning hand. We went to see the famous Anping Tree House 安平樹屋 [Anping shu wu] in the Anping District of Tainan. Vestigial bricks of an abandoned warehouse once owned the top five trading companies in Anping during the period of Japanese colonization. Tait & Co.’s legacy has been swallowed up by a few robust Banyan trees, reclaiming land rightfully theirs.
It’s a fascinating piece of architecture–there’s no telling where one tree’s aerial roots end and another begins. Dilapidated roofs have been replaced with sturdy branches of the trees. Walls, too. There are viewing platforms in place for visitors to climb to the top of the houses and see the expansions that the Banyan trees have made.
The Tree House was believed to be haunted for many years, until the National Anping Harbor Historic Park undertook a project in 2004 to make the places more visitor-friendly.
If you walk to the back of the warehouse, there’s another viewing platform overlooking the Yanshui River 鹽水溪 [yan shui xi]. And I can’t remember if these buildings were also in the Anping Tree House area, but the golden houses left by the Dutch complimented the azure skies really well. 🙂
We then made our way to the Anping Fort 安平古堡 [an ping gu bao], the oldest castle in Taiwan. It’s been rebuilt several times since its original completion in 1634. The fort was totally destroyed during Japanese occupation, because the space to be used for dormitories. You can find a more detailed account of its history here. There’s more to do in Tainan than visiting the Anping Tree House and Anping Fort! You can read more in my first post about Tainan.