Tainan : Chihkan Cultural Zone

Trip Start Jan 18, 2013
Trip End Jan 27, 2013

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013


Having explored the colonial past along the coast I was now ready to explore Tainan's rich cultural heritage back in the town centre. Conveniently the city has divided the centre into five 'cultural zones' complete with walking maps posted regularly throughout each to guide visitors around the places to visit in each

I was to begin with the Chihkan Cultural Zone, named after the Chihken Tower. This was originally a Dutch Fort but was captured and all that remains now are two towers that were built later to house a temple. 


Similar to Kumamoto Castle in Japan one tower is taller than the other. They were colourfully painted inside and out, but not in bright red which is the tradition of Taiwan Temples

There are staircases leading to the second floor which have decorative windows to look out from



The ground floor had a central shrine and similar to the European homes this morning there were colourful outer terraces that made for some scenic shots


Walking a block or two north I came to Kaiji Tianhou Temple. This was interesting with the blackened face Gods wearing bright yellow coloured clothes and decorative headresses. 

I then needed a snack and got a frozen custard ice cream stick which was unique and continues Taiwan's love affair with custard. 


Heading back south of the Chihken Tower I now made it to the Official God of War Temple. The outside wall heading down was lined with parked motorcycles as was the front entrance


The insides were interesting with a collection of many gold dressed God figures and other gold figures in glass display cases. 


Thru a laneway to the side the main highlight was the Datianhou Temple. The temple is undergoing extensive renovations so you dont see the traditional doors painted with figures which have been removed as have incense burners and prayer mats

However, the rear shrine is still intact and truly and amazing sight. This was the shrine pictured in my guide book and has a giant lifesize King like gold figure wearing a hanging beaded head dress as a crown 




To the rear were more shrines housing more interesting figures. Like a nativity scene they had diorama style shrines with different temple Gods. They were surrounded by many other gold figures 

Hopefully when this temple is fully renovated it will be quite a breathtaking sight to admire all its full features  


Similar to Lugang a couple of days earlier, wandering around there are so many other temples not on your map throwing off your bearings. I was trying not to go into too many of them and stick to the major ones listed in my book and on the tourist walking trails


A block around the corner from Datianhou Temple was the Kaiji Guangong Temple. Back outside the street facing back north led back to the God of War Temple, confusing me into thinking this was one I hadnt seen and that I should go back


The street maps led me to another temple not in my book but it was locked. I then followed the directions to Tiantan Temple which was tricky to get to trying to navigate the alleyways. 


Interesting each temple had somewhat of its own unique character while there were also many similar characteristics in the layout such as the rear shrine and side corridors.  



The outside was also quite interesting with a small motorcycle car park and many interesting figures on the lower first level roof


Walking around I was passing many other local temples not listed on the guide maps sure to confuse people


Back near the Tang De-Jhang Memorial roundabout there was a Christian Church and the European style National Museum of Taiwan Literature


Finally crossing Minsheng Road I was to visit my next stop Jheng's Ancestral Shrine. 



I did continue to see more temples after this but I have broken them down by 'cultural zone' or it gets too confusing telling them all apart.


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