Taiwan has a lot of charming small towns that preserve the best of good old times hundreds of years ago. In Changhua (彰化), a county lies south of Taichung (台中) has one of the best preserved historical town, Lukang (鹿港).
Lukang literally means “The Deer Harbor” in Mandarin. The name is probably derived from the olden days when deer often gathered at the grassland near the estuary. Due to its close proximity to China and its deep water harbor, Lukang was an important trade port starting from the Dutch occupation in the 1600s to the end of the Qing Dynasty. This activity created many affluent merchants and therefore, many big traditional mansions. In its pinnacle Lukang was the second largest town behind Tainan (台南).
In the later Japanese period the major railroad did not go to Lukang, which combined with harbor silting, led to Lukang’s decline. However, such decline slowed down urbanization and preserved many historical buildings and transformed Lukang into a popular tourist town. Local people often say that Lukang has the Three Many’s:
- Many historical sites
- Many traditional Taiwanese street foods
- Many traditional Taiwanese art masters
When visiting Lukang, head for the Old Street (鹿港老街) and you won’t miss most historical buildings and food.