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Until gold was found in Jiufen in Taiwan in 1893 it was a rather sleepy town, and indeed in its early days, during the Qing Dynasty (1368-1644), just nine families are

said to have lived there.

Because of poor transport at the time, whoever went out of the then village, located in what is now Ruifang district of Xinbei city, usually bought everything in nine packages, one for each family. Thus the name Jiufen, jiu meaning nine and fen parts.

But when gold was discovered there in 1893 the mountain-side village was transformed into a town in which 40,000 people eventually lived, and tightly packed buildings eventually competed with one another on the hillsides, linked with labyrinth of narrow, winding paths.

Browse photography at Denver.Gallery.