Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Sansia I: Introduction

Sansia(三峽) is a village not far from Taipei and belongs to Taipei county.  Not too long ago, I overheard on the metro that two ladies were talking about taking the metro to the old street of Sansia for sightseeing.  It picked my interest.  That was what we did on Sunday February 15.  Indeed, the metro was just elongated to reach the next town.  After arriving at the terminal station, we still have to take a 20 minutes taxi ride to reach the old street of Sansia.  

Sansia is at the junction of three rivers.  The name is a variation of its Japanese name SanKyuo. In 1895, when Ching Dynastey of China ceded Taiwan to Japan, there were several battles fought between the locals and the incoming Japanese occupation forces around the region.  The old village was burned.  In 1916, under the Japanese colonial government, the street was rebuilt.  The houses were styled after European street designs which were fashionable at the time.  The basic structures of the houses had a lot character and were preserved.  In 2007, the renovation of the street won Second Gold Medal in FIABCI Prix d'Excellence Award at Barcelona, Spain.  The street is 248 meteer long, 8 meter wide with 102 storefronts.

The major industry at the turn of the 20th century for Sansia is Indigo Dyeing.  After dyeing, the cloth was washed in the river (talking about enviromental friendly) then dried on the riverbank.  Sansia supplied indigo dyed cloth all over Southeast China.  Many of the stores on the street were formal dyeing factory.  As you can see on this street sign, the Chinese character means "Dye".  Now the village trys to keep the tradition going by offering DIY workshop at the local youth organization.  

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