Kaohsiung City (Chinese: 高雄市; pinyin: Gāoxióngshì; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Ko-hiông; old names: Takao, Takow, Takau) is one of the five special municipalities in Taiwan. Located in southern-western Taiwan and facing the Taiwan Strait, it is by area the largest municipality, at 2,947.62 km sq (1,138.08 sq mi), and second most populous (by urban area) with a population of approximately 2.77 million. Since its start at 17th century, Kaohsiung has grown from a small trading village, into the political, economic, transportation, manufacturing, refining, shipbuilding, and industrial center of southern Taiwan. It is a global city with sufficiency as categorized by Globalization and World Cities Research Network in 2012.
Etymology and names
Kaohsiung was known as Takau (Chinese: 打狗; pinyin: Dǎgǒu; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Táⁿ-káu OR Tá-káu) to Hoklo immigrants to the area during the 16th and 17th centuries. The surface meaning of the associated kanji was "beat the dog". According to one theory, the name Takau originates from the aboriginal Siraya language and translates as "bamboo forest". According to another theory, the name evolved via metathesis from the name of the Makatao tribe, who inhabited the area at the time of European and Hoklo settlement. On a linguistic basis, the Makatao are considered to have been part of a greater Siraya tribe.
The written history of Kaohsiung can be traced back to the early 17th century, through archeological studies have found signs of human activity in the region from as long as 7000 years ago. Prior to the 17th century, the region was inhabited by the Makatau clan of the Siraya aboriginal tribe, who settled on what they named Ta-kau Isle (translated to 打狗嶼 by Ming Chinese explorers); "Takau" meaning "bamboo forest" in the aboriginal language. Dutch settlers colonizing Taiwan in 1624 referred to the region as Tankoya and named the harbor Tancoia.
As of June 2014, Kaohsiung city has a population of 2,777,296 people, the second highest of Taiwan after New Taipei city and a population density of 942.22 people per square kilometer. Within the city, Fengshan district is the most populated district with a population of 353,142 people, while Xinxin district is the most densely populated district with a population density of 26,709 people per square kilometer.
Main landmarks of Kaohsiung city includes the Tuntex Sky Tower, the ferris wheel of the Kaohsiung Dream Mall, the Kaohsiung Arena and the Kaohsiung Harbor. The newly developed city is also known for having a large number of shopping streets, organized night markets and newly developed leisure parks such as the Pier-2 Art Center or the E-DA Theme Park.
Kaohsiung city consists of wide range of varieties of natural attractions due to its large size with geographical differences in different parts of the city, as it is bordered by the Central mountain range in the northeast and the warm South China Sea to the west and southwest. The year-round warm climate allows coral reefs to grow along the coasts around Kaohsiung harbor, with Shoushan mountain being a small mountain completely made up of coral reefs and calcium carbonate, while the mountainous districts in the northeast consists of one of the highest mountains in East Asia, Mount Yushan.