Three Centuries of History
Hsinchu City was once the beautiful homeland of the Taokas, one of the tribes of Taiwanese plain aborigines. In fact, Hsinchu's old name "Chuchien" is a Taokas word that means seashore. The Taokas originally lived by the coast around Siangshan Wetland. Then they gradually began to expand toward the northeast and developed the whole Plain, which was known as "Chuchien She." Hsinchu is the oldest city in northern Taiwan.
Green Mountain and Blue Sea
When it comes to scenery, few cities can rival Hsinchu, which has a lot of forestland as well as some 30 kilometers of scenic coastline, all packed within an area of 104.1526 square kilometers. The 18 Peaks Mountain Park is famed for its flower festival in March and its great hiking trails. The bike lane along the 17 Kilometers of Splendid Coastline offers wonderful rides and spectacular ocean vistas. Then there are the Siangshan Wetlands, which total more than 1,000 hectares. The tidal flats here hold the largest population of crabs north of the Dajia River. Consequently, each year half of the migratory birds that pass through Taiwan stop here.
Natural Scenery: Rivers
The Hsinchu Plain, home to Hsinchu City and Chubei City, is a floodplain created by the Toucian and Fengshan Rivers. The three largest rivers that run through Hsinchu City are the Toucian, Keya and Yanshueigang, all of which originate from the mountains to the east. The source of the Toucian is Mt. Dabajian and the source of the Yanshueigang is Mt. Nioupu, whereas the Keya River connects to Green Grass Lake.
Natural Scenery: Ocean
To the west of Hsinchu City is the Taiwan Strait. There are extensive tidal flats here. In their heyday, the fishing grounds here teemed with sharks, larval fish, pomfrets, mackerels and skipjacks. The fish farming area in Siangshan boasts the largest oyster farming operations in northern Taiwan, with a 200-year history of oyster farming here. Large areas of tidal lands have been reclaimed for fish farming.
Natural Scenery: Wetlands
Hsinchu City's coastline is over 30 kilometers long. The Siangshan Wetlands, encompassing an area of over 1,000 hectares, span from Keya River in the north to the border of Hsinchu and Miaoli in the south. The wetlands hold diverse populations of wildlife. In the tidal flats, for instance, there are 400 million fiddler crabs, the largest such community in Taiwan. The abundant invertebrates make this excellent habitat for migratory birds.
Natural Scenery: Mountains
Hsinchu city is located on the west side of the Central Mountain Range. On the southeastern side of the city one finds 18 Peaks Mountain, which is part of the Syueshan Mountain Range. With a highest point of only 132 meters, it is a popular hiking destination. The hilly area in the southern part of the city features the Green Grass Lake Scenic Area, Zhongzheng Park and Dongshan Park.
The Windy City
Located in northwestern Taiwan, Hsinchu City is surrounded by mountains on three sides and the sea on one side, creating a funnel-shaped terrain. Consequently, whether the monsoon wind comes from the northeast or southwest, it picks up speed as soon as it enters the city--whence the nickname "Windy City." And, as the Taiwanese saying goes: "Windy Hsinchu and Rainy Keelung."
The strong wind of Hsinchu brings the city its unique local specialty: rice noodles. In the early days, Hsinchu's rice noodles were all produced along Keya River. Noodle makers would set out basket after basket of them to dry along the river. Although almost no one dries rice noodles by spreading them in the sun anymore, Hsinchu rice noodles remain very representative of Hsinchu's traditional cuisine. Hsinchu's pork meatballs and pork-stuffed glutinous rice balls are also very famous. Several popular eateries selling these delicious local delicacies in the Cheng Huang Temple area have been there for several generations. They are not to be missed when visiting Hsinchu.