The Old Fongshan City Wall (the Zuoying Old City today) includes the North Gate, the South Gate, the East Gate, the wall, the moat, the Jhenfushe, and the Gongcheng Well. The gates, the wall, and the moat are from the modification project of 1825; the entire wall’s foundation was started in 1722.
The Old City of Fongshan was the first county after the Qing’s rule in Taiwan. It had been the Qing’s policy not to build city walls in Taiwan. Therefore, Fongshan had no city walls until the insurgence in 1721; an improvised earthen wall was built and later on, in 1760, fortified with four guns.
Another insurgence broke out in 1786 and the Old City fell twice. After the insurgents had been driven out, the Qing government found the Old City had been ruined and decided to move the County to today’s Fongshan District, which gave rise to the Fongshan New City. The Old City faded away.
In the beginning, the Fongshan New City was merely protected by thorny shrub, making it very vulnerable. The local administrator decided to fortify the walls of the Old City in preparation for returning to it. The fortification of the wall was completed in 1826; the first stone city wall built in Taiwan. However, neither the County officials nor the citizens moved back to the Old City after the wall fortification even when ordered to do so by the Qing’s central government. The New City had evolved into a prosperous metropolis during this period and the Qing Emperor accepted and conceded to the reality. The Old City was left almost deserted from then, but this situation inadvertently meant that the Old City Wall was kept pretty much intact until the end of the Japanese Occupation.
When the railroad between Tainan and Dagou was completed and put into operation in 1900, parts of the South Gate and the West Gate were demolished to give way to traffic development. The constructions of Kaohsiung military harbor and officers’ quarters by the Japanese had the greatest impact on the Old City Wall. The walls connecting the North, West, and South Gates were almost completely torn down. After the war, the wall at the North Gate was also demolished to make space for the construction of Shengli Rd.
The main structure of the city wall underwent renovation in 1989, and the work was completed in 1991. It is now open to the general public.
Lime, bricks are on the facade of the walls; the bridleways, arrow holes and battlements are also made by bricks
The gate’s foundation is earth and stone, but the gate tower is a wooded structure. It collapsed in about the 1930s. The gate tower is supported by 12 poles as a simple alternative to four corner columns. In appearance, the gable roof has protruding eaves on the left and right sides and a triple-ridge with a smooth curved line, giving the building a stable look.
Lime was used on the outside of the wall of the Old City and earth was used to fill within the wall. The foundation is three feet deep. There are nine battlements on the outside edge of the East Gate; each battlement measures 157 cm in height with 46 cm gaps between them. Brick-built archers’ holes are found on the two square corners. At the rear edge is a parapet, to which there are brick-built stairways on both sides. These lead to a horses’ passage below the wall.
The horses’ passage measures 1.79 meters in width and is only seen in Hengchun and Fongshan Old City in Taiwan.
Sculptures of gate guardian gods have a design rarely seen. The South Gate was refurbished in 1969; steel reinforced concrete columns were added to the four corners, and the gate tower was totally rebuilt.