At the end of the Taipei MRT Red Line, three stops after Guandu, is the town of Danshui. Also known as Tamsui, this was once a bustling port city which at various times in the course of its history was settled by a potpourri of foreign powers, including the Spanish, Dutch, and Japanese, and was even host to a British Consulate during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Now a popular weekend tourist destination, Danshui still retains some elements of its days of foreign occupation, most notably Fort San Domingo – or Red Hair Fort (紅毛城) as it is popularly known.
Built in 1641 by the Dutch on top of a previous structure constructed by the Spanish, the fort was held by the Chinese from 1683 until it was ceded to the British in 1867 and converted into a consulate. In 1891, a consular residence was added, which provides an intriguing glimpse of the home comforts that British colonial administrators were allowed to indulge in.
After the consulate was closed in 1972 when Britain severed official diplomatic relations with the ROC, the fort was converted into a museum. While it’s nothing spectacular, the fort is a fascinating place to visit, particularly if like me you have an interest in Chinese modern history.