Changhua, Lukang

Changhua, Lukang

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Lukang Street 1

Lukang (Chinese: 鹿港; pinyin: Lùgǎng; Wade–Giles: Lu-kang; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Lo̍k-káng; literally "Deer Harbour") is an urban township in northwestern Changhua County, Taiwan (latitude 24°03'N, longitude 120°26'E). The township is on the west coast of Taiwan, facing the Taiwan Strait. The township's name came from the port's trade of deerskins during the Dutch colonial period. Its old Taiwanese name was Lo̍k-á-káng (鹿仔港). Lukang was an important sea port in the 18th century and 19th century. It was the most populous city in central Taiwan until the early 20th century. In 2011, the Ministry of Interior decided to keep the historical Wade-Giles spelling (Lukang), and abandon the change to the Pinyin spelling (Lugang) that had been gradually taking place since Taiwan switched to Pinyin in 2009.[1]

In March 2012, it was named one of the Top 10 Small Tourist Towns by the Tourism Bureau of Taiwan.[2]


During the Qing Dynasty, the depth of Lukang's harbour and its proximity to Fujian province on mainland China made Lukang an important trading port. During Lukang's heyday from 1785 to 1845, Lukang's population reached 200,000. Lukang was Taiwan's second largest city after current Tainan and was larger than Bangka (now a district of Taipei), then the island's third-largest city.

The subsequent silting of the harbour and the city's refusal to allow railroads to pass through the city led to losses in trade in commerce, which, in turn led to Lukang's decline. This same decline, however, averted the modernization processes that demolished historical buildings in Tainan and Taipei, leaving Lukang preserved as it was in its heyday.


Koo's Family Old House in central Lukang

There are still many old temples in Lukang, such as Longshan Temple and Matzu Temple. The city boasts over 200 temples dedicated to a wide variety of folk deities.[3] The town is also the origin of the terms e-káng and teng-káng used respectively to refer to southern Taiwan and northern Taiwan; the literal meanings of the terms are below the harbor and above the harbor.

The Yuzhenzhai (玉珍齋) cakes are famous local specialties, as well as Lukang's Ox Tongue Cakes (牛舌餅) and oyster pancakes. It will host the 2012 Taiwan Lantern Festival, beating out six other contenders.[4]

  • Area: 39.46 km²
  • Population: 85,254 people (Sep. 2007)

Changhua City (Zhānghuà Shì), the capital and political heart of Changhua County, is usually been considered a gateway to the old town of Lukang, but there are some treats in the town itself, including an old Dutch-built well and a giant Buddha on a hilltop. Birders should note that Changhua is on the migratory route of the grey-faced buzzard and that the hilltop with the giant Buddha gives a 360-degree panoramic view.

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Ninety percent of Lukang (Lùgǎng) is as nondescript as most small towns in Taiwan. But then there is that other 10%. Comprising some of the oldest and most gorgeous temples in the country, and featuring curiously curved streets, art museums in heritage buildings, and dusty old shops where equally dusty old masters create colourful fans, lanterns and tin pieces, it is this small part of Lukang that justifiably brings in the crowds.

People call Lukang a ‘living museum’ and this is true as much for the food as it is for the buildings and streets. Traditional dishes are cheap and readily available near all of the major sights. Look for the enticingly named phoenix eye cake, dragon whiskers and shrimp monkeys, among many other dishes.

On the central coast and just half an hour from Changhua by bus, Lukang is easily reached from anywhere on the west coast.

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