In 1894 (late Qing era), the local gentry changed the name from "Fist Mountain" (拳山) to the more elegant "Fort Wenshan" (文山堡, from 文山秀氣). The greater Wenshan area (大文山區) is roughly the area of Bunsan District (文山郡), Taihoku Prefecture from the Japanese era. It included modern Wenshan district as well as Xindian, Shenkeng, Shiding, Pinglin, and Wulai. The modern district was formed in 1990 by combining Jingmei and Muzha.
Although Wenshan is in Taipei city, it seems rather remote at first sight; surrounded by mountains, many people find it is a good place to escape downtown Taipei. On weekends, many people drive to Maokong to enjoy one of the area's numerous teahouses and to breathe the fresh air.
The mountains in Wenshan are ideal for people to exercise on the hiking trails. The Taipei Zoo, which houses two pandas on loan from China, is often jammed by adults and children alike, especially during summer vacation. After the construction of the MRT, it became easier to travel to Wenshan from other districts. Wenshan District also contains the city mayor's residence.