Visiting Tainan County - Where Culture and Nature Meet

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The official Taiwan Lantern Festival will be staged in Tainan County this year. Venue is the large "Solar City" development area at the Southern Taiwan Science Park. According to Tainan County Magistrate Su Huan-chih the 2008 Taiwan Lantern Festival will not only have the usual traditional lantern festival atmosphere but will also feature the latest images of the science park's high-tech Solar City project. The plan is to combine traditional culture and modern technology to present to the world a whole new shiny version of this annual extravaganza.

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Tainan County is characterized by a diverse topography and a rich natural environment. In the west the county faces the Taiwan Strait, while in the east it borders on the mountains of the Central Mountain Range. In between are fertile agricultural areas, which are part of the Chia-Nan Plain. Tainan was the first part of Taiwan to be settled by Han-Chinese immigrants from Mainland China and thus inherited some of the most important historic sites of the island.

In the recent years, the county government has been very active in tourism development. It particularly focuses on events organizing and environmental protection. When visiting the Lantern Festival this year, make sure to spend some time exploring other attractions of Tainan as well. Enjoy the natural beauty on eco-tours, learn about the long history by visiting historic sites, and sample the delicious local cuisine.

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The Taiwan Lantern Festival is not the only Lantern Festival activity staged in Tainan this year. The Yanshuei Beehive Rocket Festival each year attracts large crowds of visitors who come to witness the firing of thousands of mini-rockets. It all started in the summer of 1885 when the town of Yanshuei was plagued by an epidemic. The quick spreading of the disease and the lack of medical help caused panic among the people. Many thus turned to Guansheng Dijun a local deity and protector of the people, for help. Following the divine instructions, the devote people of Yanshuei carried a sedan chair of Guansheng Dijun through the streets of the town. They ignited fire-crackers to scare off evil spirits. Since the epidemic was put under control after the parade the event has been staged in Yanshuei ever since.

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For this year's World Candy Culture Festival, held from January 19 through February 24, Jiali Township welcomes from foreign countries. The festival presents visitors with a wide range of activities surrounded by candies and you have the chance to sample the latest products of the local candy factories. Another important event in this spring is the Taiwan International Orchid Show staged in March at Houbi Township. The best orchids cultivated in Taiwan will be shown to the world at this must-see event in Tainan.

For those interested in eco-tours, the wetlands of Cigu is the place to go. Tours to Cigu combine introductions to age-old industries such as oyster farms and fishery as well as visits to eco-rich mangrove forests. In recent years, the county government has paid much attention to the conservation of natural habitats. One priority has been to ensure the protection the black-faced spoonbill a rare migratory water bird. Each winter a few hundred, about half of the still existing bird, come to Cigu to spend the winter.

Another nature reserve is the Meiling Area where fireflies find a place to thrive. The best time to visit the area and see the fireflies dancing in the air at night is from March to June. Lovers of hot-spring bathing can head to Guanzihling, which is, besides Yangmingshan, Beitou, Sihchong River, and Jhihbenone of the top 5 hot-spring locations in Taiwan.