Tainan City, a city located in the southwest coast of Taiwan, is one of the most historical cities in Taiwan. From 1683 to 1883, during the Qing dynasty, Tainan was the capital city of the island nation that is located 188km from China. Nowadays, the city is mainly known for its old alleys, museums, and temples, making it one of the go-to historical cities in Taiwan. Tainan is, indeed, the perfect city for a traveler who is looking for history in Taiwan. Therefore, to help narrow down the destinations, here are the must-visit places in Tainan that will give you insight about the history of this city and of Taiwan:
1. Anping Old Fort
When anyone in Taiwan mentions Tainan, the image of the famous fort at Anping always comes to mind. Anping Old Fort is one of the most historical forts in Taiwan; the fort was built by the Dutch from 1624 to 1634 and was originally named Orlande, but was later renamed as Anping Old Fort in 1662. Nowadays Anping Old Fort functions as a museum where travelers can learn a little more about Taiwan’s history; around the fort is Anping Old Street, a historical street where handmade products and food are sold. After a visit to the fort, you can walk around the streets to check out what vendors are selling.
There are shuttle buses that can be taken from the Tainan Train Station. From the station front exit, head across the street to the bus stops, and board buses number 2, 88, or 99. Admissions for Anping Fort are 50 NTD (approximately 1.50 USD), but there are also discounted price for students and elderlies.
Shennong Street is a very well known street in the city and is considered as one of the most well preserved street in Tainan City. During the Qing Dynasty, this street was one of the busiest streets in its time. Around the mid 1990s, there was a movement that started the recognition of the significance of Shennong Street, and it was finally turned into a cultural zone. Over the years, around 12 houses have received renovation, and now the street has become a small haven for those who would like to have a relaxing walk, hunt for photographs, or maybe shop in the art galleries. A few houses have been renovated as coffee shops as well, so if you need a cup of coffee, don’t be shy to grab a cup!
The most recommended way to reach Shennong Street is by taking the bus. From the Tainan Train Station, head to the bus stops across the street and take bus number 5, 7, 14, or 18, then get down at Ximen and Minquan Road. Afterwards, head west along Minquan Road, and across the red lights you will see the Shennong Street sign on your right.
3. National Museum of Taiwan Literature
The National Museum of Taiwan Literature (NMTL) is a museum that was opened in 2003. The building was first built during the Japanese rule in the year 1916, and the building served as the building of the Tainan Prefecture (one of the government bodies during the Japanese colonization). The NMTL is the first national museum that has the purpose of housing literary arts. Even though many exhibitions use Chinese as their main language, the architecture is still worth admiring.
Getting to the NMTL is fairly easy, and is accessible on foot or public transportation. If you feel like walking and exploring the city, then take a 15-minute walk along Jhongshan Road. However, you can also take the city bus and get down at Minsheng Luyuan.
4. Confucian Temple
The Tainan Confucian Temple is also known as the Scholarly Temple and was built in 1665. Inside the temple grounds, travelers will be greeted by old trees and classic architecture, which makes the temple a tranquil escape for travelers who want a time to sit down and unwind. This temple endured numerous wars and natural disasters and has gone through more than 30 reconstructions, but it was all worth it since the temple is now a must-go travel destination.
To get to the Confucian Temple, you can take buses number 2 from the Tainan Train Station to the Confucian Temple stop. Once there, walk along Nanmen Road and you will see the temple entrance just upfront.
Tainan City, aside from being a city filled with forts and temples, is also a city filled with vintage back alleys. When walking along the big streets, anyone can see that the city is like any other city in Taiwan. However, if you go on a little adventure off the streets, you will encounter old houses, vintage decorations and ruins that will take you to a whole different time. Some examples of the best back alleys to explore are located north of Minzu Road, in the Zhen Bei Fang cultural zone. The back alleys in downtown Tainan are very much preserved, and they are the perfect destinations for any traveler who wants to explore a throwback to the old lifestyle in Tainan.
Tainan city is, like other cities in Taiwan, a city filled with history and culture. The forts, temples, old streets and interesting back allies makes Tainan city an interesting place for any traveler who loves history and culture. Furthermore, all the destinations are accessible by public transportation, making it convenient to explore the city and it’s historical stories. So, what are you waiting for? Make sure to stop by in Tainan and emerge yourself with what this city has to offer!
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