Top:Liyu Lake, Second left:A cigarette product house in Fenglin, Second right:Taroco Gorge in Cross Island Highway, Third left:Qixingtan Beach in Xincheng, Third right:Hualien Railroad Station, Bottom left:Cingshui Cliffs near Suhua Highway, Bottom right:A paddy field in Shoufeng, backyard in Central Mountain Range
|Largest city||Hualien City|
|Boroughs||1 cities, 12 (2 urban, 10 rural) townships|
|• County Magistrate||Hsu Chen-wei (KMT)|
|• Total||4,628.5714 km2 (1,787.1014 sq mi)|
|Area rank||1 of 22|
|• Rank||20 of 22|
|Time zone||UTC+8 (National Standard Time)|
|ISO 3166 code||TW-HUA|
Hualien County (Mandarin Wade–Giles: Hua¹-lien² Hsien⁴; Pīnyīn: Huālián Xiàn; Hokkien POJ: Hoa-lian-koān or Hoa-liân-koān; Hakka PFS: Fâ-lièn-yen; Amis: Kalingko) is a county on the east coast of Taiwan. It is the largest county by area, yet due to its mountainous terrain, has one of the lowest populations in the country. The county seat and largest city is Hualien City.
Most of the population resides in the Huadong Valley, which runs north to south, sandwiched between the Central and Hai'an mountain ranges. Due to the rural nature of the county, Hualien attracts many visitors for its natural environment, which includes Taroko Gorge, Qingshui Cliff and Qixingtan Beach.
Spanish settlers arrived in 1622 to pan for gold. Picking up the sounds of native words, these settlers called the area Turumoan (多羅滿; To-lô-boán). Han Chinese settlers arrived in 1851. Qing Dynasty records give the name of the region as Huilan (洄瀾; Hoê-liân; 'eddies') due to the whirling of waters in the delta.
During Taiwan's Japanese colonial period (1895-1945) the island's Japanese governors opted not to transliterate the name "Kiray" because the Japanese pronunciation of the word resembled the Japanese word for "dislike, disgusting" (嫌い, kirai). The official name became Karenkō (花蓮港, Karenkō). Karenkō Prefecture consisted of modern-day Hualien County. Toward the end of World War II the Governor-General of Taiwan moved many Japanese residents of Taiwan to the area to develop agriculture.
After the handover of Taiwan from Japan to the Republic of China in October 1945, Hualien was established as a county named Hualien County of Taiwan Province on 9 January 1946. In 1951 Hualien was the first county in Taiwan to be governed according to the ROC local autonomy law. Today the Hualien area serves as the key population centre on the east coast as well as the one of five main life circle regions in Taiwan, together with Taipei, Taichung, Tainan and Kaohsiung.
On 2 April 2021, a Taroko Express derailed at the north entrance of Qingshui Tunnel after striking an unattended flatbed truck that had fallen onto the tracks. The accident is the deadliest train accident in Taiwan since 1948, with at least 50 passengers reported dead and more than 150 injured.
Hualien County is situated in eastern Taiwan Island. It faces the Pacific Ocean towards Japan (Okinawa Prefecture) to the east, Central Mountain Range to the west bordering Taichung City, Nantou County and Kaohsiung City, Yilan County to the north and Taitung County to the south. It stretches around 137.5 km (85.4 mi) from north to south with its width ranging from 27 to 43 km (17 to 27 mi) long from east to west. Its area is about 4,628.57 km2 (1,787.10 sq mi) and occupies one eighth of Taiwan's total area.
Despite its vast area, only 7% of the county area is populated. The remaining area is occupied by rivers (7%) and mountains (87%). Mountains are composed of Central Mountain Range in the west and Hai'an Range in the east. The main rivers in the county are the Hualian River, Xiuguluan River and their branches. The plains stretch along the valleys between both mountain ranges with a width around 3–6 km (1.9–3.7 mi). Due to the restriction of its landscape, Hualien people reside mostly on the alluvial fans of the Huatung Valley plains.
Hualien County is divided into 1 city, 2 urban townships, 7 rural townships and 3 mountain indigenous townships. Some towns have Japanese names because these towns were named by Japanese during the Japanese ruling period from 1895 to 1945. Hualien City is the county seat and houses the Hualien County Government and Hualien County Council.
|Type||Name||Chinese||Taiwanese POJ||Hakka||Formosan||Japanese Origin|
|City||Hualien City||花蓮市||Hoa-lian or
|Fâ-lièn||KalinkoAmis, NabakuwanSakizaya||Karenkō (花蓮港)|
|Fengbin||豐濱鄉||Hong-pin||Fûng-pîn||FakonAmis, BakungKavalan||Toyohama (豊浜)|
Hualien County voted one Democratic Progressive Party legislator to be in the Legislative Yuan during the 2016 Republic of China legislative election. The incumbent Magistrate of the county is Hsu Chen-wei of the Kuomintang.
|Climate data for Hualien City (1991-2020 average)|
|Record high °C (°F)||29.6
|Average high °C (°F)||21.4
|Daily mean °C (°F)||18.3
|Average low °C (°F)||15.8
|Record low °C (°F)||4.6
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||54.6
|Average rainy days||13.4||14.2||14.2||14.1||15.8||11.6||8.2||10.4||13.2||12.5||12.4||11.2||151.2|
|Average relative humidity (%)||75.6||76.9||77.4||78.9||80.2||80.4||77.1||78.0||77.8||75.2||75.7||74.0||77.3|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||68.7||67.8||85.7||98.1||124.3||180.9||255.6||228.0||163.1||124.3||93.2||74.2||1,563.9|
|Source: Central Meteorological Bureau|
|Source:"Populations by city and country in Taiwan". Ministry of the Interior Population Census.|
Hualien County has 333,392 inhabitants as of December 2014 and is divided into 1 city and 12 townships. Its late development means that many aboriginal cultures such as Amis, Atayal, Bunun, Truku, Sakizaya and Kavalan are well-preserved. As of 2014, aborigines make up 27.5% of the population of Hualien County (about 91,675). The Hakka people comprise about 30% of inhabitants.
The county has seen negative population growth since the early 2000s due to emigration to other places outside Hualien County, with an average reduction of 1,393 people per year over the past 18 years.
According to a 2015 survey on national happiness index, Hualien County was rated as the happiest place to live in Taiwan among other 20 counties and cities due to the residents happiness driven by strong levels of satisfaction with work-life balance, living condition, education, environmental quality and the performance of the local government.
The internationally famous Buddhist Tzu Chi foundation is headquartered in Hualien City. There are also many temples around the county. Buddhism and Folk religions are popular in Hualien County. Hualien County also has the highest concentration of Roman Catholics in Taiwan at 9.46% of the population.
Because of its awesome scenic view, fresh air, fine weather, and plenty of well-maintained bike trails, Hualien County is a popular destination for cyclist enthusiasts and marathon runners. Many cycling tournaments and marathon events are held each year in Hualien County. For example, Taiwan KOM Challenge and Taroko Gorge Marathon.
The Hualien County Department of Education lists in all 6 institutions of higher learning within the county's borders as well as 15 high schools, 35 junior high schools and 151 elementary schools, though some of the listed elementary campuses have been closed for years due to their remote location or to low enrollments. Hualien County is home to National Dong Hwa University, Tzu Chi University, Taiwan Hospitality and Tourism University, Tzu Chi University of Science and Technology and Dahan Institute of Technology.
Hualien County houses the hydroelectric Bihai Power Plant with an installed capacity of 61.2 MW and coal-fired Hoping Power Plant with a capacity of 1,320 MW, the fourth largest coal-fired power plant in Taiwan. Both power plants are located in Xiulin Township.
National parks in the county are Matai'an Wetland Ecological Park, Taroko National Park and Yushan National Park. The county is also home to several mountains and cliffs, such as Hehuan Mountain, Pingfeng Mountain, Qilai Mountain and Qingshui Cliff. Other natural areas include the Liyu Lake, Shihtiping, Mugua River Gorge, Walami Trail, Niushan Huting, East Rift Valley, Rareseed Ranch, Lintianshan Forestry Culture Park and Qixingtan Beach.
Museums and historical buildings in Hualien County include Dongli Story House, Hualien Sugar Factory, Pine Garden, Saoba Stone Pillars, Hualien Cultural and Creative Industries Park, Lintian Police Substation and Old Lintian Police Station, Chihsing Tan Katsuo Museum and Hualien County Stone Sculptural Museum.
Farglory Ocean Park is in Hualien County.
Night markets in the county are Dongdamen Night Market.
秀林鄉． 新城鄉． 花蓮市．吉安鄉． 壽豐鄉． 鳳林鎮．光復鄉． 萬榮鄉． 瑞穗鄉．豐濱鄉． 玉里鎮． 卓溪鄉．富里鄉
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Hualien County.|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Hualien County.|