Kenting to help shed light on lighthouse
The China Post news staffMost people in Taiwan can instantly recognize the Oluanpi Lighthouse as the most significant man-made landmark on the southern tip of Taiwan.
March 10, 2012, 12:02 am TWN
But few know the history behind the beacon that has helped countless seafarers steer to safety in the turbulent seas and foul weather conditions since the late 19th century.
The Kenting National Park Administration has planned a guided historic tour of the lighthouse for Saturday, March 24 for visitors to gain an in-depth understanding about the origins of the structure.
Officials at the park administration said that the plan for the construction of the lighthouse at the southern tip of Taiwan was partly caused by some tragic events.
The boat of an American couple ran aground off Oluanpi in 1867. Except for one Chinese crew member on the boat, the couple and all other crew members were killed by aboriginal people living in the Kenting area in southern Pingtung County, mainly because of inadequate communication between the perpetrators and the victims.
In 1874, most of the people aboard a ship from Okinawa were killed by the indigenous people.
The tragedies and high frequency of maritime disasters prompted the imperial Qing government in mainland China to take the concrete step of hiring experts from Britain to build the original lighthouse, which has been modified over the years.
The lighthouse has won a nickname “The Light of East Asia” because the brightness of its light is the most luminous among Taiwan lighthouses.
Officials at the Kenting National Park Administration said the guided tour will be free of charge.
A schedule of tour programs has been worked out for interested travelers to gather at the visitors center for briefings on the historic events.