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Qihou Battery

  • Date:2019-04-03
Qihou Battery

  • Chinese Name: 旗後礮臺
  • Year of Establishment: 1875
  • Located At: Kaohsiung City (Southern Taiwan)
  • Did You Know That …?
  • In February 2019, the Ministry of Culture announced that the Qihou Battery and former British Consular Residence of Takao, both in Kaohsiung, have been officially upgraded from municipal historic sites to national ones.
  • Address: Mt. Qihou, Cijin District, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan (ROC)
  • Site:

The Qihou Battery was one of the first two Western-style fortifications built in Taiwan. Preserved intact, the battery bore witness to battle near the end of the 19th century and has immense research and military historical value. While the battery has been added to and altered over time in response to different military needs, those changes were restricted to the southern entrance, with the original battery itself wholly preserved and its surroundings retaining the look of the time when it was constructed.

Mt. Qihou, where Qihou Battery is located, stands guard over Kaohsiung Harbor. During the early Qing dynasty, it was home to a defensive military fortification with six Chinese-style cannons. Its strategic importance grew further with the 1863 opening of the Port of Kaohsiung. After the Mudan Incident in 1871, imperial official Shen Pao-chen (沈葆楨) dispatched provincial military commander Tang Ding-kuei (唐定奎) and regional vice commander Wang Fu-lu (王福祿) to head up construction of a new battery, with British architect J.W. Harwood hired to design it.

The battery was split into two parts, one on Mt. Qihou with the inscription "Power that Shakes the South (威震天南)," and one to the north of the port’s entrance inscribed with "Northern Gate of the Heroic Town (雄鎮北門)." Mt. Qihou itself is made of coral rock, and with its steep cliffs, it made an imposing guard post above what was then known as Takao Harbor. In 1884, Governor of Taiwan Liu Ming-chuan (劉銘傳) hired a German architect to further reinforce the battery, along with purchasing four muzzle-loading Armstrong guns from the United Kingdom to be placed on the southern side of the battery, making it into a formidable Western-style battery.

The battery’s grounds were divided into three rectangular sections: a northern exercise yard, a central command section, and a southern section that housed the Armstrong guns. Within its thick walls were a barracks, atop which four cannons were sat. The entire facility was constructed primarily with iron, cement, and red brick.

While the battery proper was set out in Western style, the main entrance to the facility was built in Chinese style, which when coupled with the "Power that Shakes the South" panel above, made for an extraordinary and striking sight. The walls on either side of the entrance have a pattern in brick that forms the character for "double happiness (囍)," a traditional symbol of celebration, which is very rarely seen on such historical batteries in Taiwan.

After defeat in the First Sino-Japanese War, the Qing ceded Taiwan to the Japanese. In 1895, Japanese ships bombarded Qihou Battery, resulting in the destruction of the first two characters on the inscription above the main entrance, leaving only the "the South (天南)" part still standing even after restoration. The battery was opened to the public in 1995 and has since become one of Kaohsiung's top tourist destinations.