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Local Cultural Centers
Intersection of Wenxian Rd. and Ln. 122, Xinyi St., West Central Dist., Tainan City
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Duiyue Gate was erected in Daoguang 16 (1836) of the Qing dynasty and is commonly known as Laoshi City Gate. Its geographical positioning started from Yongzheng 13 (1735) and a plan was approved by Director-General Hao Yulin and others. Thorny bamboos were planted from Little North Gate to South Water Gate. However, people found out “the west area is too close to the seaside and due to tiding, bamboo wouldn’t grow,” and therefore, two gun batteries were built, in addition to watchtowers, gates, lookouts, and other facilities. In Qianlong 40 (1775) of the Qing dynasty, new facilities were built around Duiyue Gate, which located outside the west of Laoshi Street, including watchtowers, barracks to the north, and batteries to the south. Along the city walls from north to west had planted with thorny bamboo; however, the bamboo did not plant around the Duiyue Gate, due to adjacent waters.
In Daoguang 3 (1823), because a change in the landform of the Bay of Taijiang, the coastal land to the west of Tainan rose and became indefensible. Zhang Bing Rebellion, occurred in Daoguang 12 (1832) of the Qing dynasty, caused panic for security of the prefectural city, leading to forced changes in defensive works of the city. Director-General of Fujian and Zhejiang Cheng Zuluo, in his memorial to throne to redress situation in the aftermath of the rebellion in Taiwan in Daoguang 13 (1833), proposed building outer walls on the west of the city. In the same year, Prefect Zhou Yan solicited donations from the city’s gentry and built additional six forts and seven batteries. In addition, several hounded zhang (1 zhang is about 3.03 m) of outer walls in coastal area from Little West Gate to Little North Gate were completed in succession.
In Daoguang 13 (1833), after redressing the aftermath in Taiwan, Director-General Cheng Zuluo resumed in the 12th lunar month of the year and following precedent, proposed twenty items of aftermath reformation in his memorial to the throne. Among the proposed reformations, the Item Six was closely related to Tainan’s city defense. It recommended, “Construct walls, bamboo curtains, and batteries, as well as additional crescent-shaped barbicans and outposts, to provide defense capability. Tainan is a vital center in entire Taiwan. The area outside the West Gate, Luermen, and Anping Town are interdependent and form a strategic position in the city’s defense system, as well as a place to concentrate grain and goods. The place used to be encircled in the Bay of Taijiang and defensible; therefore, it was not included in the city.
Since Daoguang 3 (1823), river sediments have gradually silted the coast of the Bay of Taijing, and flat lands have rose from the bay. The areas cover Zengwun River in Chiayi on the north end, over forty li (one li is about 400 m) outside the city’s Little North Gate on the south end, coastal Zhouziwei on the east end, and 15-16 li within Luermen on the west end. Enemy troops could route through here and march directly into Buwei, wade through the shallow waters, and arrive the field outside the West Gate. There was no pass and no tenable defense position. Last year, when bandits were making disturbances, people were in a state of panic. Some had moved into the city; some rushed to board boats. Were it not for Taiwan prefect’s leadership and city’s gentry’s and businessmen’s providing and regulating resources in first building protective screens and fences to reassure the public, most people would be attacked by the bandits.
Your Servant, therefore, together with prefectural officials and local gentry, considered that the city is encircled by east, south, and north walls, but the city’s west wall is straight. The whole city is in the shape of a half moon. We planned to build outer walls to expand the city northwestward and southwestward in order to include the markets and folk dwellings in the city, select key sites to build batteries, attach additional crescent-shaped barbicans to the city gates, and on the walls, add barracks. But the projects would cost over one hundred thousand, and we are afraid the sandy coastal area has less soil, in addition to areas of low ground, where tides can reach.
While planning and preparing, we followed the petitions made by Prefectural Graduate Zheng Chaolan and others to use private donations to carry out the projects. We first examined and selected the terrains to dig trenches and dredge the old water gates, and borrow earth to fill and tamp the low-lying lands. At the edges of the trenches, we have planted thorny bamboo as walls and built batteries in different sections. Still, we have retained discretionary funds donated to offer business borrowing to accrue interests as funds for repairing each year. If we have sufficient donations, we may spread them to build additional crescent-shaped barbicans and barracks. Reportedly, gentleman Huang Huali donated the first ten thousand liang of silver, and Su Jianxun and Wu Guodong, two thousand liang of silver, respectively.” In addition, “Your Servant recognize these gentlemen’s virtuous and righteous behavior have moved and inspired others to come and follow them, which is very excellent and worthy of esteem.” Correspondently, we answered their request to permit them to accomplish what should be accomplished in the fortification projects for Taiwan Prefecture and Chiayi County by using private donations and efforts to complete public projects, in order to fulfill their zealous sincerity for the common weal.”
For the outer walls, palisades had been erected from Little West Gate to Little North Gate, during the Battle of Cia Qian, but they were out of service and dilapidated for a long time. When repairing the city walls, the walls were converted into earth walls at the original sites and built the city gates; however, two sections of the palisades were built at the sites that were slightly different from the original sites. The section of wall extending from Nanchang to Niumo was built with earth too and on the west of Hai'an Road, because the coast had already retreated to the west of Hai'an Road, which was due to the landform change in Taijiang Bay.
Another section of wall included three places, i.e., within the gate of West Gate’s outer walls, Gongqian Gate outside the Little North Gate, and Diankun Gate outside the Little West Gate. They were rebuilt at the original sites. But the central gate was moved to a site near the harbor of Xingang from Zhendutou, and it was built with Laoshi. And this is Duiyue Gate. The inscription on the stone plaque on the gate reads: “In Daoguang 16 (1836) of the Qing dynasty,” indicating the completion date of the city gate and the entire outer walls.