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Tsung-Yeh Arts and Cultural Center Introduction

The stately grounds and Japanese era buildings of the Tsung-Yeh Arts and Cultural Center were originally the Meiji Sugar Manufacturing company's head office, now, a century later, the ecologically rich grounds are open to the public and the historic buildings have been transformed into exhibition halls. In a conversation in adaptive regeneration initiated by the center, the buildings and grounds now serve as a venue for preserving, promoting and sharing the region’s fascinating cultural and ecological heritage through activities and exhibitions.

The grand brick and wood buildings combining both Eastern and Western aesthetics have been restored to their original splendor as tangible local heritage and as venues to promote local art, craft and culture. Sugar industry trains and stone mills are displayed in the 4.3 hectare parks vast green lawns amongst grand old fruit trees and a Camphor tree lined path that forms a green tunnel. 

Numerous exhibits, concerts, fairs and theatrical events are organized by local and International artists and are held in the parks lawns or historic buildings. The events give new life to the historic Tsung-yeh Art and Culture Center and provide a place for locals to enjoy cultural and artistic activities.

During the Qing Dynasty and Japanese colonial era, Taiwan was famous for its camphor which was exported with little regard for sustainability. Tsung-yeh Art and Culture Center takes the parks ecology and regeneration seriously. Hundred year old Camphor, Autumn Maple, Mango, Longan and Avocado trees, which White Eyes, Brown Shrikes and Chinese Bulbul shelter in, are protected and cared for by park management. The secretive Crested Goshawk may be spotted gliding high above the park and Malaysian Night Heron are often seen on the grass in the evening. Raised wooden pathways protect a rich variety of flora and fauna, including the rare Rhacophorus arvalis tree frog which have become unofficial mascots of the park and the subjects of several artworks on the grounds.

Tsung-yeh Art and Culture Park is in Madou District and gets its name from the largest and most powerful village of the four main Sirayan Indigenous villages on the Jianan Plain. The Madou Tribe traded with the Dutch in the 17th century helping the area became a strategic market town.

In 1906, during Taiwan's Japanese era, the Meiji Sugar Manufacturing Company established their head office in Madou and in 1911 a sugar factory was built which quickly became the area's main economic source. Madou's sugar industry followed the vicissitudes of the sugar industry in Taiwan. After the golden era for sugar in the 50’s and 60’s there was a steady decline until 1993 when the Tsung-yeh factory closed. 

The golden years of sugar -- crucial to the region's economy and development for the last hundred years -- had concluded and the struggle to preserve this valuable heritage began.

In 1999, the Red Brick Office, Wooden Official Residence, Wooden Guest House, and Red-Brick Dining Hall were declared county historical monuments. In 2000, the Tsung-Yeh Sugar Factory was renamed the Nanying Tsung-Yeh Arts and Cultural Center, and the unused space with a rich cultural atmosphere was redeveloped -- preserving an important legacy.


Heritage Buildings Introduction

The Japanese Meiji sugar corporation's headquarters in Tsung Yeh which oversaw the operations of the eight Meiji sugar production centers in Taiwan was once the largest building complex in Taiwan. The well-planned environment had 76 buildings including offices, a club, dorms, a repair shop, parking areas, a post office and a clinic. This complex served the sugar industry for nearly a century before the Tsung Yeh Sugar factory ceased operations in 1993 due to high production costs of sugar in Taiwan. In 1998 the tall chimney of the factory was dismantled -- symbolically signifying the end of the sugar industry in Madou.

Sugar fueled the region's economy and shaped the landscape of Madou for a hundred years, now the sweet aroma of cane sugar was disappearing from the landscape and the struggle to preserve this valuable heritage site began.

In 1999 the Red-brick Office, Wooden Official Residence, Wooden Guest House, and Red-Brick Dining Hall in Tsung-Yeh Arts and Cultural Center were designated county historical monuments -- a testament to the legacy of the rich history of sugar production in Taiwan. Of the 76 buildings built in 1911 these four were some of the first built by Meiji Sugar Company, have the strongest cultural value and are best able to preserve the valuable cultural heritage of the Tsung-Yeh Sugar Factory.

The Tsung-yeh Art and Culture Center provides a space for the public to enjoy art in southern Taiwan and reuses vacant space. The Red-Brick Office, Wooden Guest House, Red-Brick Dining Hall, and Wooden Official Residence have been repurposed as exhibition halls for displaying art and cultural works and holding events, thus breathing new life into the historical monument.


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