Located on an island off the coast of Taiwan, Jungshe Village is the result of three centuries of Chinese immigration and cultural development. Jungshe was first settled by the Han people from mainland China about 300 years ago. Attracted by the climate and setting, which offered limited crops but ample resources for fishing, the settlers designed the village in a style that reflected the architectural forms and urban traditions of Chinese culture. Relatively untouched by the modern world, the village boasts a remarkable collection of historic structures including 151 traditional courtyard houses, temples, fish-cooking stoves, kilns, cowsheds, water wells, and wharves.
Until recently, Jungshe had managed to preserve its traditional way of life. Today, however, the village is suffering from depopulation, evident in its rows of derelict houses. Only 40 of the houses are occupied as permanent residences and maintained, while the others are left to the elements. Of these, a third are in serious condition. Although the local government is trying to improve Jungshe’s infrastructure, the preservation of its houses is proving difficult. Only with the combined support of government, national institutions, and local residents can such a campaign hope to succeed.
Since the Watch
Listing in 2004 resulted in increased local interest. Survey and conservation planning were soon underway, and local residents successfully established an Adaptive Use and Conservation Association. January 2011