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Tourism Spots >> Etymologies and Stories of Place Names

1. Pu-Jiang-Tou:  This is the present day area of Yong Kang, PuYuan, and Chengchiang villages.  One saying is that the place gained its name because lots of Pu-Jiang (commonly known in English as simple leaf chaste tree) grow near by the Carp Pond in the area.  Another saying is that in the southern Jujianese dialect, “Pu” means flatlands and “Jiang” is a type of deer that's relatively smaller in size.  “Tou” referred to capes near the sea or the water.  Altogether, “Pu-Jian-Tou” meant “a flatland near the sea where deers gather.”  The area is now the city center of Yong Kang.

2. Pi-Ma-Yuan: The area is divided into two villages.  The larger village is on the east side, and the smaller one on the west side is the modern day Pu-Yuan village.  Pi-Ma is the Chinese common name for the castor oil plant.  It's a perennial plant with a height of 8 to 9 feet.  The stalk is hallow like bamboo, and the leaf resembles a large palm-shaped shelf.  Castor oil plants bloom and produce seeds in the fall, and oil can be extracted from the seeds.  The extracted oil can be used as a laxative for medicinal purposes and as mechanical grease for industrial uses.  The area gained its name because both villages grew castor oil plants as crops.
3. Pu-Zai-Zhuang: This place is located north of Pi-Ma-Yuan, and it earned its name due to its abundance of grasslands.  It now belongs to the present day Pu-Yuan village and accommodates the houses in front of the Yong Kang train station.

4. Wu-Gui Bridge: The Wu-Zhu neighborhood is close to the vertical connector rails, which is called Wu-Gui Bridge.  The name referred to the bridge that crossed the Niaosong river, which was built during the colonial government during the Dutch occupation.  The bridge shared equal rank with the major and minor Kaiyuan bridges and was one of the major routes to the north-bound traffic to the Tainan town.  During the Ming-Zheng era, armies were dispatched to set up posts at Jiao-Su (or Jiao-Siu) and guard this land connector.  The bridge gained its name because it was built by the African slaves (Wu-gui literally means dark ghosts) captured by the Dutch government. 

5. Bu-Hou: During the Japanese occupation days, this area did not yet have any villages.  It was an agricultural area.  The new community was established after the land re-configuration after 1968.  The area was originally configured as Nan-Wan village, but due to the increased population, it is now divided into the original Nan-Wan village and the new Kun-Shan village.  The location of Bu-Hou is at the present day Kun-Shan village, which encompasses four old places: “Zhai-Xiang-Zai” (Narrow alley), “Ji-Yu-Tan' (Carp Pond), “Tan-Di” (Pond-Base), and “Yu-Liao-Zai” (Fishing Camp).

6. Ji-Yu-Tan: Literally meaning ‘Carp Pond', the lake is surrounded by the Ching dynasty towns of Yong Kang Upper-Middle village, Guang Chu west village and Chang Hsing village, which are the modern day Yong Kang (on the north), Sishi, Beiwan, Dawan, Siwan, Nanwan, Kunshan (East), Wangliao, Fuguo, Jianguo (west), and Taizi village (southside) of Rende town.  It is a sack-shaped body of water that is longer along the north and south and narrow across the east and west. The perimeter of the lake is a little over 10 miles.  It has three names.  One is carp pond, because there are lots of carps in the water.  Another is East Lake, because it is located on the east side of the Tainan town.  And the last is Dragon Lake, because it is believed that it is the dwelling of the ground dragon of the old Tainan town, and it is also the ceremonial location where prayers are made for rain during summer droughts.  This pond is the remaining part of the Dawan strait which retreated gradually over 3500 ago.  After the period of Dutch-Zheng, the lake became the source of irrigation for Yong Kang, Guang Chu, and Chang Hsing.  It is also the volume regulator of Hsingang river (modern day Yan-shuei River).  The lake is filled with water throughout the year, and the scenery is beautiful.  The view is particularly beautiful on moon-lit nights, where sayings such as “Moonlight nights of dragon pond” and “Serene moon of carp pond” attest to its status as one of the 8 scenic sights of old Tainan.  
7. Tan-Di: In July of the 3rd year in the reign of Daoguang, southern Taiwan was attacked by a major storm.  Zengwun river was diverted to Tai-jiang.  Large amounts of sand and debris built up in the central and northern parts of Tai-jiang , blocking the river outlet of Yanshuei river.  As a result, the river went straight into Niaosong river, poured into Carp pond, and demolished the divider located at the current eastside of the Chung Hwa College Of Medical Technology in Rende town.  The pond water then detoured and flowed south through San-lao-Ye temple creek and Er-ceng-hang creek to the ocean.  After that, the thousand hectares of lake mass became rich soil.  What is left is Kunshan lake, the heart of the former pond, now located in the Kun Shan University of Technology.  It is still referred to as Carp pond, and the surrounding area also became known as “tan-di”, which literally means ‘lake base.'

8. Zhai-Xiang-Zai:  The location of the Ling-xiao temple used to be called “zhai-xiang-zai”, which means “narrow alley.”  Seated facing west at the based of the Nanwan street of Nanwan village in Yong Kang city, the temple is an inevitable place to pass for people traveling from Er-wu-lun (modern day Wangliao village) into Tainan city during the days of the Japanese occupation.  The surroundings of the temple used to be secluded bamboo forests.  During WWII, when the US airforce fiercely bombed the Tainan area, many locals dug bunkers in the bamboo forest.  The place became an ideal hideout.  At that time, there were only a few families living in the ‘narrow alley.'  There was a bumpy and secluded path along the north, which is the modern day Guoguant 5th avenue of Kunshan village.  The width of the street was no wider than 3 meters, and it allowed only one-way traffic by cattle drawn carriages.  In the case of two carriages traveling in opposing direction, the lighter one must yield and drive into the fields.  Not only that, cyclists in the same situation would encounter even bigger problems, because the two sides along the way have been deeply grooved by the carriages, so the sidewalk is only 2 feet wide.  Since empty bicycles are easier to switch lanes, the cyclists would often have to unload their goods before switching lanes.  Such was the true conditions of the early days.


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