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Traditional Rural Villages Take on Attractive New Looks
The rural villages of Taiwan offer a tremendous range of variety, each area featuring its own authentic natural scenes and the customs of particular ethnic groups. Every rural village in Taiwan comes with its own unique features to attract visitors. Rural villages represent the evolution of Taiwan's agriculture, from traditional farming to recreational farms. Nowadays, what these villages present is the idea of LOHAS. If you want to take a look at the attractions of Taiwan¡¦s rural villages, the best place to begin is with 'The Ten Top Rural Villages".
The Council of Agriculture has carried out numerous programs such as the "New Agriculture Movement" and "Innovative Agriculture, Energetic Farmers, and Charming Rural Villages" in order to drive all-around development and introduce a new era in Taiwan¡¦s agriculture. The agency has already launched a program known as the "Selection of the Best" with its "Top Ten Rural Villages" leading off. The Council hopes to encourage the public to re-discover the beauty of Taiwan's rural villages through such events and gain further understanding in the productivity, livelihood and ecology of these places.
Villages which took part in the selection of the first "The Top Ten Rural Villages" applied through agencies located in various townships, villages and communities throughout Taiwan. The local city or county governments then evaluated the written application. An Internet balloting was opened for the public to vote, with voters' opinions taken very seriously. Finally, inspectors paid a visit to the selected villages, and the judging committee decided the top ten rural villages based on five criteria. These criteria were:
Splendid Image: Huashan Village (located in Gukeng Township, Yunlin County); and Ta Lien Community (located in Tianwei Township, Changhua County) .
Preserving the Ecology: Ma Tai An Area (located in Guangfu Township, Hualien County); and Kang Pien Li borough by the Harbor of Suao in Yilan County.
Agricultural Variety: Jiangmayuan Area (Ginger Park), Shulin Village, Dahu Township, Miaoli County; the Shuangtan Area, Shuangtan Village, Sanyi Township, Miaoli County; and the Yung¡¦an Area of Luye Township, Taitung County.
LOHAS Lifestyle: Fuhsing Community , Tongshao Township, Miaoli County; and the Shesui Community , Dayan Village, Yuchih Township, Nantou County.
Timeless Villages: Wuhe Community , Rueisuei Township, Hualien County; and Jhaomen Community , Hsinpu Township, Hsinchu County.
Though the top ten villages are categorized, the villagers do share one thing in common ¡V their devotion and passion to their community development. They have tried all possible means to improve their livelihood and cooperate with each other to protect their land and preserve their traditional craftsmanship and folklore. As a result they have chance to demonstrate their community unique values.
Jhaomen Community of Hsinpu Township is a traditional and beautiful Hakka manor. Here on 300 hectares of hilly land, five soft peaks form a valley in a rather wrinkled-looking landscape which is very unique. Within the area there are farm ponds, farms, farmhouse, delicious food, and locally featured children¡¦s folklore. The ecology is rich and abundant, with everything from Allomyrina dichotoma or Muller's Barbet to the butterfly and red dragonfly. Jhaomen has a finished a walking trail system which is safe and contains many recreational farms so that visitors can enjoy DIY dining, children¡¦s folklore, tea and mochi (sticky rice balls). In addition to the natural ecology and leisure farms, there are also impressive Hakka buildings like ancestral shrines and three-section compound houses. Visitors can take a peek at local scenes and Hakka culture. Jhaomen is a place to satisfy both the senses of aesthetic and rational beauty.
The Jiangmayuan area is located on the boundaries of Sanyi Township and Dahu Township. County Highway No. 130 connects the greater Jaingmayuan area and the two towns. Jiangmayuan is famous for its ginger production and has developed various unique products featuring ginger. There also produce products such as peaches, plums, pears, oranges and strawberries etc. The area¡¦s festivals feature fun activities such as grass weaving and mochi kneading. These activities combine both traditional Hakka and modern customs and have a way of making visitors feel interested and energetic. The Shuang Tan Village of Sanyi Township is the center of humanity and arts. The place is famous for its wood sculpture and ceramics. The historical Shengshing Station and the 100-year-old trails form a foundation upon which Sanyi is developing tourism. Given the combination of unique features of Dahu and Sanyi, the Jiangmayuan Area is certainly fit to be one of Taiwan¡¦s top ten rural villages.
The top ten rural villages are indeed setting an example for villages around the nation. At the same time, they demonstrate the values and revive the agriculture and rural community development model of Taiwan.