Attraction Fort San Domingo, Tamsui District, New Taipei City, Taiwan Published on: 19-11-2015
Image copyrights belong to authors
Why Fort San Domingo is special ?
Fort San Domingo is Tamsui's most prominent monument to foreign involvement in Taiwan. First built in 1629 by the Spanish, it was intended to aid the imposition of Spanish rule over the local Chinese and aboriginal populations in northern Taiwan.
This fort was captured by the Dutch in 1642 when they drove the Spanish from the island. They replaced the Spanish-built stockade with a fort made of stone. The fort became known as the "Hongmao Castle" (Fort of the Red Heads) in reference to the colorful locks of its Dutch occupants.
In 1867, the British leased the fort and undertook massive renovations, which included the construction of the imposing British Consulate in the eastern section of the fortress compound. Its red brick verandah and red roof tiles complement the color scheme and design of the fort.
Hongmao Castle's position overlooking the mouth of the Tamsui River makes it a particularly attractive scenic spot, especially at sunset.
What to explore at Fort San Domingo?
The fort is divided into two areas: consolation office and the main fort. The main fort is structured squared; it is suitable for defense due to its deep ground foundation and thick walls. The fort was defensive to gunfire in old days. Since the fort is located on high terrain, they did not build prominent bunkers during the Dutch occupation. Instead of building prominent bunkers, Dutch set the southeast corner of the main fort to be the center of defense, which face toward the Tamsui River. After British took over Fort San Domingo, they painted the fort with red color, and reconstructed the pointed styled roof into flat. Other than repainting and reconstruction of the main fort, they also built two balconies on the northeast and southeast side of the building to defend and guard from intruders.
Apart from the defensive constructed main fort, the consolation office is designed by British architects, and constructed by Chinese technicians with fine red bricks. The red bricked building with arched corridor and oblique roof present the typical colonial construction. It has been awarded as Tier one historic site by the Ministry of the Interior of Taiwan. Visitors are able to learn and see how Taiwan had undergone different cultures.
How to get to Fort San Domingo?
Nat'l Hwy 1 → Exit at the Taipei Interchange → Prov. Hwy 2B → Fort San Domingo
1. THSR Taipei Station (or TRA Taipei Station) → MRT Tamsui Station → take the Tamsui Bus (Red 36 or Red 38) to Aletheia University stop; or take Bus No. 837 to Hongmao Castle (Fort San Domingo) stop.
2. THSR Taipei Station (or TRA Taipei Station) → MRT Tamsui Station → take the Zhinan Bus (Red 26 or No. 836) to Hongmao Castle (Fort San Domingo) stop.
Additionally, you can also use these ways to get there easily:
MRT Danshuei Station -->Jung Jeng Rd. (Old Street) -->Jung Jeng Rd. Section 1 (About 40 minutes)
MRT Danshuei Station -->Jungshan Rd. --> Wun Hua Rd. -->Jung Jeng Rd. Section 1 (About 40 minutes)
By Bus: MRT Danshuei Station --> Line 26 (About 20 minutes)
MRT Danshuei Station -->Jung Shan Rd. --> Wun Hua Rd. -->Jung Jeng Rd. Section 1 (About 20 minutes)
- Currently Under Renovation But Still Worth A Visit
- Fantastic Colonial Experience
- Good history of colonialism and local history
- Taiwan's Best Preserved Historic European Fort
- Nice fort and view of Tamsui River!
Fort San Domingo, Tamsui District, New Taipei City, Taiwan
Tips for you
Outdoor Hours Open: 09:30~17:00 Mon~Fri 09:30~18:00 Sat~Sun Except Apr-Oct 09:30-22:00 Closed on the first Monday of the month (or the following working day if Monday is a public holiday), Chinese New Year’s Eve, and Chinese New Year’s Day (as well as other particular days announced separately)Timming
Fort San Domingo is nearby to other historical landmarks worthy of exploration within walking distances such as the former British Consulate, former buildings setup by well-loved Canadian missionary Dr. McKay around Aletheia University, Hobe Fort and a little further away, Tamsui Old Streets.Things nearby
“Interesting old buildings and a beautiful view” If you want to see something a little different during your visit to the Taipei area, Santo Domingo is a good place to go. Its European-style architecture reminded me of the many colonial buildings in Macau, all mixed around and between Asian-style structures. We didn't actually go inside the fort, although we read that you could (Perhaps it was temporarily shut down when we were there). However, there's a building next to it, the old British consulate, that you can walk through. Most of its rooms have period-appropriate furnishings from the 19th and 20th centuries. The view out over the Tamshui River from the hill that the fort and consulate sit on is stunning. My wife and I grabbed some ice cream from the gift shop and sat a while to take it all in. There are plenty of walking trails on the property so you can get many different viewpoints. I wish we'd been able to go inside the fort itself, though. Also, don't go on Mondays; I heard it's all closed down then. We got in for free, but our guidebooks said that there was a charge. I'm not sure if it was free for us due to the upcoming Chinese New Year or some other reason. Perhaps it's always free now.