Keelung: Seaport City of Deep Character

Text: Richard Saunders Photos: Maggie Song, Vision Blessed with a deep, natural harbor (which has made it a natural choice for a settlement since Taiwan’s natives moved in, followed by the Spanish and Dutch for brief spells in the 1600s and the Taiwanese since, Keelung (基隆; pronounced “jee-long”), Taiwan’s second-busiest seaport after Kaohsiung, combines frenetic energy, distinctive local color, and great seafood with a long and fascinating history, Taiwan’s most elaborate annual Ghost Month festivities, and a slew of impressive natural and cultural attractions.  Keelung Tourists visiting this corner of the island generally make a beeline for the famed seaside rock formations at Yeliu (野柳), to the northwest of Keelung, or the historic twin gold- and copper- mining villages of Jiufen (九份) and Jinguashi (金瓜石), to the east. Be sure, however, to make time for exploration of a few areas of this vivid and endlessly fascinating city – at just…