On a rare and much-longed-for Saturday off from work earlier this year, I finally went somewhere south of Taichung- Tainan City. Taiwan’s former capital and oldest major city, Tainan is loaded with history. It’s also quite a nice place to visit, with lots of attractive features including the (relatively) clean streets, the attractive landscapes and historic sites. Besides all these things, I also went to a huge, bustling night market that was very impressive, much more than any I’ve been to in Taipei. For some reason, I had expected the place to be kind of gritty, rundown and shabby. If anything, Tainan was even cleaner than Taipei, though that’s not saying much.
Entrance to the shrine.
The first stop was the Koxinga Shrine. is a famous and celebrated Chinese historical figure and legend, who defeated the Dutch to stake claim to Taiwan and as a loyal Ming official, even launched an expedition to drive back the Manchus and reclaim China. Though he failed in this latter task, he held on to Taiwan and managed to create a thriving society.
A statue of Koxinga in a park outside.
Next up was the Confucius Temple, Taiwan’s oldest one built back in 1665. Taipei’s Confucius Temple was constructed in 1939 after the original Taipei temple, built in the 19th century, was destroyed by the Japanese.
Inside one of the halls were name signs featuring messages from past presidents of the ROC. This one is Ma Ying-jeou’s.
What could possibly be behind those red walls?
Ch’ih K’an Fort or Fort Provintia, a former Dutch garrison that Koxinga captured and used as his residence and then as a government office.
The fish-filled “moat” in front of the main building.
The wall is covered with IDs and messages from students asking for success in exams from a divine figure, below.
View of another side of Fort Provintia from the street.