No.212, Sec. 2, Minzu Rd., West Central Dist., Tainan City 700, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
During the Dutch rule, the colonizers exchanged cloth for land owned by the plains aborigines. They set up commercial markets in Tainan, making the old city a business hub. However, in response to long-term oppression by the colonial Dutch forces, the local farmers rose up against the colonizers during the Guo Huaiyi Rebellion (郭懷一事件) in 1652. To prevent such uprisings from happening again, in 1653, the Dutch built up the Fort Provintia as the strategic military base and political center.
In 1661, the Dutch were defeated and expelled by the patriotic hero Zheng Cheng-gong (鄭成功), better known by his Hokkien honorific Koxinga (延平郡王), and the Fort Provintia became the island's highest administrative institution. Six months later, Koxinga passed away. His son ruled in his place, and the once-proud Fort Provintia was degraded into an ammunition depot. What’s worse, the fort didn’t survive the civil wars and natural disasters during the Qing dynasty – it was literally in ruins. Later in the late 19th century, several buildings were constructed on its original site. After several major renovations, finally in 1974, the Fort Provintia became what you see today, where the remnants of the castle, Wenchang Pavilion (文昌閣) and Haishen Temple (海神廟) can still be appreciated.
Besides the architecture, nine imposing “Bixi (贔屭) steles” built during the reign of Emperor Qianlong are also worth your attention. Bixi is depicted as a turtle with teeth, able to carry heavy stone tablets on its shell, lying on the ground with its head held high. At the end of 1786, the very first of Taiwan's largest rebellion broke out, and the Qing general Fu Kang-an (福康安) was sent to suppress the armed insurrection with a force of 20,000 soldiers. After his mission was accomplished, Qianlong Emperor (乾隆皇帝) wrote several poems and had them carved on these steles. With a long history of hundreds years, Fort Provintia has gone through many different periods of colonial rule. It is almost like a microcosm of modern Taiwanese history and very worth a visit if you happen to be a history buff.