Potential World Heritage Sites in Northern Taiwan
Datun Volcano Group
The Datun volcano group is located at the rim of the Taipei basin. It covers a total area of 11,455 hectares. The Datun volcano group is composed of more than twenty volcanoes. For more than two million years, the area went through numerous collisions of the earth crust and volcanic eruptions, as well as the weathering of rain, wind and sun, to form today's terrain features. Although the volcanic activities ceased as early as three hundred years ago, its relic landscapes such as cone volcanoes, volcanic craters, explosion craters, volcanic crater lakes, lava-dammed lakes, faults, and waterfalls are found here. Hot underground water and steam are pressurized through faults and cracks, forming a unique geological landscape of post-volcanic activities, such as hot springs and steam vents.
The Jinguashih (Jinguashi) community is located in the northeast of Taiwan. It lies to the northeast of Rueifang Town with the Pacific Ocean to the north. The buffer zone embraces Keelung Mt., Jioufen, Jinguashih Mt.,Wudankeng, Grass Mt. and Chicken Mt. The total area of the community is more than 70 square kilometers. At one time, Jinguashih was a thriving community because of a nearby gold mine, but once the gold mine was depleted, it became a ghost town. The abandoned mine site has a one hundred year history. It is a natural museum of mining which documents the history of Taiwan mining. This area contains a complete history of gold mining and is comparable to other famous mining towns throughout the world. The buildings, tunnels, and tools from the golden age of mining have been preserved. These reflect the living history, collective memory and culture of Jinguashih.
Fort San Domingo and Surrounding Historical Buildings, Tamsui
Tamsui (Danshui) Fort San Domingo and nearby historical structures are located on the north bank of the lower reaches of the Tamsui river, west of Datun Mountain, and opposite Guanyin Mountain on the other side of the river. The proposed area and buffer zone of Tamsui is located in northwest Taiwan. Covering an area about the size of Tamsui town, it extends from Tamsui to Zhuwei. It is 11.138 km long from east to west and 14.633 km from north to south. The total area is 70.6565 square km. Since discovering a new trading route, both Holland and Spain occupied Tamsui. Tamsui Port became a commercial port in the 1960s, and merchant ships came from Europe and America, making it into an international port. After more than three centuries of change, Tamsui Fort San Domingo is the only completely intact evidence of the former presence of Spain and Holland.
Lo-Sheng Sanatorium Hospital
Lo-Sheng Sanatorium Hospital is located in northern Taiwan and has two hospital areas: one in Xinzhuang District, New Taipei City, close to the Huilong MRT station, and one in Huilong Village, Guishan Township, Taoyuan County. The sanatorium occupies roughly thirty hectares in total. The hospital area in Xinzhuang mainly consists of one-story dormitories for patients to live in. The hospital area in Huilong Village is under the jurisdiction of Taoyuan County, and consists of two modern 8-story buildings, one of which is provided for patients of Hansen's Disease. The hospital was founded in 1930 by the Office of the Governor-General of Taiwan and originally named the "Rakusei Sanatorium for Lepers". During the Japanese occupation, the Japanese government forced patients with leprosy to live in the sanatorium. The Lo-Shengsheng Sanatorium Hospital was the first public sanatorium in Taiwan for leprosy patients. The sanatorium originally had three buildings that housed a hundred patients. Due to the compulsory quarantine policy began by the Japanese Government and continued by the Nationalist KMT Government, the Lo-Sheng Sanatorium Hospital expanded to over sixty buildings and had nearly one thousand beds.
Taoyuan Tableland and Ponds
In the 1970s, Taoyuan County had 8,864 ponds with a total area reaching 8,000 hectares. On average, each pond supplied water to 2.9 hectares of farmland. Due to population growth and economic development in recent years, many of the ponds were filled in and became land for schools, communities, government offices, and the airport. However, Taoyuan currently still has nearly 3,000 ponds. Digging ponds to hold water is not rare in an agricultural society that grows rice in paddies, but ponds dug in such quantity, size and density can be found no where else in the world. The Taoyuan tableland lacks streams, and so rice could not grown in paddies during the early days. However, the Taoyuan tableland is characterized by a mild slope and red or brown soil that is good for holding water, thus inspiring residents to dig ponds for holding water.
Qilan Mountain Cypress Forest
The Qilan Mountain Cypress Forest is located in the watershed zones in the Xueshan (Snow Mountain) range, extending through 4 counties—Yilan, Taipei, Taoyuan and Hsinchu Counties—and covers an area of about 45,000 hectares. There are only seven species of the genus Chamaecyparis left in the world. The cypress forests found in North American and East Asia consist of Chamaecyparis. The cypress forests of Taiwan are the only ones situated in a subtropical region. The 2 species found in Taiwan are: Formosan Cypress (Chamaecyparis formosensis) and Taiwan Cypress (Chamaecyparis taiwanensis). This area contains the only old growth giant cypress trees remaining in Taiwan. The precious trees remaining today are not only a testimony to geological development, but their unique ecosystem and genome can also provide crucial information about migration of flora and fauna during the ice age.