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The Ancient Wall of Anping Old Fort in Tainan

Updated: Dec 2, 2021

by Belle Wu

This remaining wall of the outer Fort Zeelandia, also known as old Tainan City remains, is a national historic site. Let's find out the uniqueness of this brick-and-mortar wall. It was built in 17C, and it has been standing here firmly for almost 400 years, despite typhoons, earthquakes, and hot summer. What's its secret? Let's find out.

To begin with, let's take a closer look at the bricks. The Dutch style bricks were imported from Indonesia. Apart from the original wall, other walls were later constructed with Japanese bricks. Then, what's the difference between these two types of bricks? Firstly, they differ in shape. Compared to Japanese bricks, you'll notice that Dutch bricks are thinner and longer. Secondly, it's about color. Dutch bricks are lighter colored, not as red as Japanese ones. Finally, probably the most obvious one is the Dutch bond's unique feature, which consists of alternate courses of the headers and stretchers.

With regards to mortars, since there was no concrete back then, people mixed grounded oyster shell ash, glutinous rice, and syrup as mortars. It was also ancient people's wisdom to make the best use of available natural resources.

Last but not least, there's one essential element that makes the wall so sturdy. That would be the wall anchors. The Dutch people introduced this kind of method. So, how did a wall anchor work? It attached the main beam and the wall to strengthen the building structure, and thus the wall would be less likely to fall.

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