Knockoff Eiffel Tower in Taiwan’s Taoyuan slammed as blot on landscape

Head of the district office claims the ‘Baleng Tower’ will draw many visitors and thus help revitalize the area

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The Baleng Tower and Eiffel Tower (Screen capture from Facebook/ Wikicommons)

The Baleng Tower and Eiffel Tower (Screen capture from Facebook/ Wikicommons)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - The Fuxing District Office of Taoyuan City recently built a 10-floor steel tower in bright red on the site of a former fort during the Japanese colonial period in hope of "revitalizing" the area, but the tower has been blasted by scholars for its lack of beauty and for being a blot on the landscape.

The district office spent NT$13 million to construct the so-called "Baleng Tower" at an altitude of 1,314 meters. The bright red tower, 29.5 meters in height, has numerous LED lights installed which shine brightly after sunset in the mountainous area inhabited mainly by Taiwan’s Atayal indigenous group.

Tseng Chin-hsiang (曾志湘), head of the district office, said the site of the Baleng Tower was formerly a fort constructed by the Japanese empire, reports the Chinese-language Liberty Times. The Japanese military used to station soldiers at the fort to monitor Atayal villagers who often tried to revolt against the colonial government, added Tseng.

Tseng believes the Baleng Tower, which took inspiration from Paris’ popular tourist attraction, the Eiffel Tower, as well as traditional Atayal weaving patterns, will revitalize the area by drawing many visitors.  

“When the LEDs are lit in the evening, people living in the ten villages scattered around the mountains will be able to see the glittering tower,” said Tseng, adding the office would allocate another NT$10 million for other facilities, such as a trail, an observation deck, and a replica of the original fort.

However, the apparent knockoff of the Eiffel Tower quickly drew criticism after it was revealed this week.

Lee Ming-tsung (李明璁), a professor at Taipei National University of the Art, described the tower as being totally out of place in the mountains, reported United Daily News. “Enough is enough,” said Lee.

Wutu Michiang (伍杜米將), a lecturer at the Chung Yuan Christian University, slammed the district office for spending NT$13 million on a tower that is ugly, totally irrelevant to history, and which serves only as a blot on the surrounding natural landscape.