Hengchun [恆春鎮] is Taiwan’s southernmost township and hosts the most completely preserved city gates in Taiwan. This historic city is a great stop for anyone visiting southern Taiwan.
Cape No. 7 [海角七號], the top-grossing film in Taiwan’s film history features Hengchun. If you’ve seen the movie than you’ll probably recognize the West Gate. This may be the only congestion-free shot of the gate in existence:
The city’s walls were built in response to the Mudan Incident which was a punitive expedition carried out by the Japanese in May 1874 in retaliation for the murder of shipwrecked Ryukyuan sailors by Paiwan aborigines in southern Taiwan in December 1871. Drew Kerslake of Taiwan in Cycles has an excellent post on the Mudan Incident and how its reverberations are still felt today.
Qing Dynasty official Shen Baozhen [沈葆禎] was sent to Taiwan during the second half of the 1870s to make belated improvements to the island’s defenses. Construction of Hengchun’s city walls began in 1875 and took five years to finish.
An intact portion of the city wall that visitors can walk along near the East Gate
Historic Hengchun is a a great place to visit for anyone traveling to any of the area’s popular tourist destinations such Kenting National Park or the National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium.