In 1874 during Emperor Tongzhi’s reign, Japanese troops invaded Taiwan, and Shen Boazhen was put in charge of the country’s defense system. He suggested a fortress be built in Anping, and Erkunshen Fortress, also known as Golden Castle was constructed using bricks from Fort Zeelandia.
This fort was surrounded by a moat over two metres deep, three at high tide. With a bridge to the arched gate, I passed through to a huge bare square once used to train up to 1500 soldiers. In the 19thcentury a reservoir was dug in the centre of the square to extinguish a fire in the event of an attack.
I entered one of the four protruding corners, a bastion, and climbed the steps to walk around the perimeter of the fort. Sun glistened on the moat below. I reached the display of bricks that had once been part of the original barracks.
After the Japanese successfully colonized Taiwan, the fort lost its usefulness. Early in the 20thcentury, it was in ruins. It wasn’t even possible to enter through the arched gate because tumbled bricks had blocked the entrance. The wooden bridge that once lifted above the moat was in disrepair, and the cannons had been sold. It wasn’t until the 1970s that the government began restoring the site.