Kaohsiung (Chinese:高雄, TongYong PinYin: GaoSyóng, Hanyu Pinyin: Gāoxióng, Taiwanese POJ: Ko-hiông) is the second largest city in Taiwan (population around 1.45m) with eleven districts. Kaohsiung can refer to either the Kaohsiung City, which is administered directly by the central government of the Republic of China, or Kaohsiung County, which is administered as part of Taiwan Province.
Unlike Taipei, the streets of Kaohsiung are wide and traffic is less congested than in Taipei. However, the air pollution around Kaohsiung is notoriously bad because of the heavy industry in the area. Kaohsiung is the major port through which most of Taiwan's oil is imported, which accounts for the large amount of heavy industry.
It is an export processing zone - producing aluminum, wood and paper products, fertilizers, cement, metals, machinery and ships. Kaohsiung is the center of Taiwan's shipbuilding industry, as well as home to a large ROC Navy base. Its subway system, the Kaohsiung Mass Rapid Transit (KMRT), should be running in 2006.
Kaohsiung is divided into 11 administrative districts:
The Old City
- Cijin (旗津區)
- Gushan (鼓山區)
- Yancheng (鹽埕區)
- Sinsing (新興區)
- Cianjin (前金區)
- Lingya (苓雅區)
- Sanmin (三民區)
- Nanzih (楠梓區)
- Cianjhen (前鎮區)
The city grew up from a small village called in the 17th century Táⁿ-káu (打狗), which was the name of a local tribe or "bamboo forest" in the local tribe's language. The Dutch established a fort there in 1624 but were expelled by the Chinese in 1661. Under Chinese control the area was named Wan-nien-chow in 1664. Following a further name change to Takao in the late 1670s the town grew dramatically with immigrants from mainland China. In 1684 Kaohsiung was renamed Fengshan County (鳳山縣), and considered a part of Taiwan Prefecture. Kaohsiung was first opened as a port during the 1680s.
In 1895 Taiwan was ceded to Japan as part of the Treaty of Shimonoseki. It was during this period that the city's name changed from 打狗 (pronounced Tá-káu in Taiwanese) to 高雄 (Takao in Japanese). While the sound remained more or less the same, the old character meaning of "Beating Dog" was replaced with the more elegant-sounding "High Hero". The new characters eventually came to be pronounced "Kao-hsiung" in Mandarin Chinese.
The Japanese developed Kaohsiung, especially the harbour. Kaohsiung was upgraded to a municipality on July 1, 1979, by the Executive Yuan, which approved this proposal on November 19, 1978. The famous-in-hindsight Kaohsiung Incident of December 1979 occurred in the city.
See also: Political divisions of the Republic of China
As the second largest city in Taiwan, the office of Mayor of Kaohsiung is viewed as a presitgious position, oftentimes seen as a counterweight to the Mayor of Taipei.
Kaohsiung is sometimes seen to be the mirror image of Taipei politically. While northern Taiwan leans towards the pan-blue coalition, southern Taiwan has traditionally leaned towards the pan-green coalition and Kaohsiung is no exception. Frank Hsieh of the DPP was reelected twice as Mayor of Kaohsiung, where he was widely credited with transforming the city from an industrial sprawl to an attractive modern metropolis. Hsieh resigned the office of mayor to take up the office of Premier of the Republic of China in 2005.
Known as the "Harbor Capital" of Taiwan, Kaohsiung has always had a strong link with the ocean and maritime transportation. Ferries play a key role in everyday transportation, and often play the role that buses do in other cities, especially for transportation crossing the harbor. The Port of Kaohsiung is also Taiwan's largest container port , and is one of the largest in the world by some measurements. 
Kaohsiung is also home to Taiwan's second largest airport Kaohsiung International Airport, located in the Siaogang District.
A new metro system, the Kaohsiung Rapid Transit System is currently under construction. Kaohsiung has also completed a light rail system around the city's central park.
The city is served by the Taiwan Railway Administration's Western Line and Pingtung Line. The new Kaohsiung Station will be shared with Taiwan High Speed Rail when the latter begins passenger services in late 2005.
Tuntex Sky Tower
- Ai River (Love River)
- Old Kaohsiung Railway Station
- Sizihwan Scenic Area
- Chihou Battery
- Cijin Ferry
- Fengshan Old City
- Liouho Night Market
- National Sun Yat-sen University
National Kaohsiung Normal University
- National Kaohsiung University of Applied Science
- National Kaohsiung Marine University
- National Kaohsiung First University of Science and Technology