The New Charm of Historic Yancheng District／盬埕商圈 新魅力
The New Charm of Historic Yancheng District
◎English translation: Peng Hsin-yi
◎Photos by Pao Chung-hui
With well preserved historic buildings, and a street layout that hails back to a different era, Yancheng District is a tourist magnet. It attracts those wishing to go on a cultural pilgrimage in which they can gets glimpses of the grandeur of a prosperous past. Yancheng District's history begins in 1924, when the authorities officially designated it as a district. It served as a business, financial and even administrative center. As people came, business opportunities expanded.
In 1975, however, things changed. Many businesses migrated to other parts of Kaohsiung. As a result, Yancheng's glamor faded. However, the tide has turned yet again. Now branded for its specialty shop clusters, Yancheng District is once again pulling in consumers of all ages –to the Sinle Neighborhood "Watch and Clock Street," to "Gold Street" where there are trustworthy gold merchants, and to "Accessory Street" for trendy jewelry and knickknacks. Visiting Yancheng is an enriching experience, not only for the sense of nostalgia, but also for the exiting scenes it offers today.
Dayong Street is called "Watch and Clock Street" on account of its four highly reputable watch-and-clock stores. Formosa Watch had been in business for over 30 years, and its manager Mr. Zeng Jyuan-siang says the store has presented itself as a high-end watch seller from day one, featuring luxury brands such as Rolex, Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin and others. With beautiful displays and themed product releases designed to complement new items, as well as a professional repair team, Formosa has been able to stay on top of current trends and the latest styles. Even though watch and clock businesses can be found on every corner, Formosa continues to welcome a stream of customers, old and new, because of its quality services and competitive prices.
"Gold Street" got its name because the street has more than 20 gold dealers. Mychen Jewelery was the first gold shop on this street; it is currently managed by second-generation owner Ms. Wan Yi-ling. She can recall the street in its heyday during her childhood. When a blockbuster movie was coming, the whole street would be packed with people, and she would have to turn herself sideways in order to squeeze through the crowd and make it through her own door. Mychen Jewelery has been in business for over 60 years, she says, and has always applied the philosophy of high quality and honest prices. Mychen Jewelery makes a wide array of products, including traditional items such as baby gifts and birthday gold plates given to seniors celebrating a milestone birthday, as well as fashionable gold jewelries. Customers are welcome to place personalized orders; if you can name it, Ms. Wan's team can make it.
In the Sinle Neighborhood, 40-plus accessory stores feature all kinds of fashionable jewelry. Everything you can imagine is sold here. The window displays are full of fun and imagination, and can be considered art. In Kuang Fashion Boutique, rhinestones and crystals line the walls, and the sparkles will brighten anyone's visage. An employee says Kuang Fashion Boutique has positioned itself in the medium-high price range, and every two weeks a new batch of products arrive from Korea. She says most items use Swarovski rhinestones and the quality is really outstanding. She also points out that many of the items feature "stones" with fancy cuts, achieving stunning effects that are popular with customers. Many smaller retailers come to Kuang Fashion Boutique to procure goods, but individuals are also welcome. According to the employee, the most popular brand these days is the Korean trend-setter Aznavour. The brand specializes in making jewelry using eco-friendly plant resin; their products are also hypoallergenic, so those who suffer from allergies can wear them without worry.
It is lots of fun to walk down the street to see and feel the past, present and future of Yancheng District, all in the same moment. When you enter a shop and strike up a conversation with the owner, you might be surprised by the stories he or she tells. You will learn something new while basking in the unexpected joy that comes from experiencing Yancheng in a multidimensional way.