No.108, Gubao St., Anping Dist., Tainan City 708, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
Once the warehouse of the Tait & Company (德記洋行) more than a century ago, Anping Tree House is now a popular landmark in the old city of Tainan, where the giant banyan trees took over the abandoned building after years of neglect.
After China’s defeat in the Second Opium War of 1867, the Qing government had to open the Anping Harbor to foreigners, and the Scottish trader James Tait was one of the first to set up a merchant house in Anping. The Tait & Company was the biggest merchant house of its time, mainly engaged in the export of granulated sugar and camphor from Taiwan. Before these goods were loaded onto ships, they were stored in the warehouse, that is, the Anping Tree House. During the Japanese Colonial Era, the trade of camphor and opium was made a government business, which left these foreign merchants with no choice but to leave Taiwan – the Tait & Company was no exception. In 1911, the Tait & Company building was turned into an office and warehouse for the Japan Salt Company (大日本鹽業會社營業所). After World War II, it became the offices for the Tainan Salt Works (台南鹽場). In 1981, a major renovation was undertaken to bring this historic building up to date, while the renovation of the neighboring tree house was suspended for safety reasons. By the year of 2004, the local government invited designers to gentrify the old warehouse for touristic consumption. They have built wood and metal staircases and viewing platforms, allowing visitors to wind through the trees and view the warehouse from up within the branches.
Having been overgrown with tree roots for the past century, this old warehouse was once thought of as a creepy place, but not anymore. Today, Anping Tree House not only retains the feeling of an ancient ruin but also offers an adventure into a giant brick flower pot. It will surely be a delight for urban explorers and photographers alike.