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Twilight at Tainan’s salt fields

台南北門 鹽田夕陽

· 每日跟讀單元 Daily English

Salt fields used to be a regular feature of Tainan’s coastal fishing towns. However, with the closure of the salt industry, these days it is rare to see the sight of drying salt stacks; a common feature of the landscape in days gone by.


To preserve the last vestiges of Tainan’s lost salt industry, in 2003 an old salt field was restored at Jingzaijiao in Tainan’s Beimen District. Although this salt pan-style salt field is no longer used to produce salt, it recreates the landscape of how fishing villages would have looked in the past. There are foot operated watermills as well as equipment for drying, piling and grading the salt, which makes for an interactive teaching resource for visitors to experience and understand salt farming.


The many acres of restored salt fields have become a favorite location to watch the sun as it melts into the night sky and is reflected on the water’s edge. As the setting sun shines onto the salt fields, the mirror-like landscape takes on a dreamy quality.


Nightfall is also the best time to watch black-bellied terns in Beimen District. Stretching along the edge of the salt fields up to the sea walls, black-bellied terns, out foraging for food during the daytime, return to perch on the oyster racks, flying overhead in large flocks; an activity that is repeated daily until they migrate north at the beginning of spring.


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