Saturday, September 15, 2012

孔子廟と赤嵌楼/Confucius Temple and Chihkan Tower

Last week, I went to two of Tainan's most famous buildings: Chihkan Tower and the Confucius Temple.
 On our way to the Confucius Temple, we stopped at this other temple whose name I stupidly did not get tattooed into my forearm so that I would not forget.  I don't think it's a particularly major temple--there are lots of small temples all over Tainan--so I couldn't find it on a map just now either.
 The mother goose morning market.  This is where you go to get your vegetables, etc. if you are a legit Taiwan grandma.  You have to go at like 6-7 in the morning though, so you gotta be legit.


 Here's the Chihkan Tower from the outside.  The Chihkan Tower was originally called Fort Provintia. It was the second settlement made by the Dutch.  Their first one was what is now called "Anping Fort", which I wrote about visiting previously.  They settled on an island at the outside of the semi-lagoon that was where much of west Tainan is now.  They decided at some point that they wanted a more inland settlement as well, so they made Fort Provintia on the mainland inside the lagoon.  It was named "Provintia" in reference to the union of the 7 provinces.  (If you remember your Dutch history, the Netherlands was not initially formed as a single nation state, but rather as a collection of semi-independent provinces of Spain who decided to rebel against the Spanish King's government.  There were matters of taxation and religious freedom.  The USA was basically the same deal done a couple hundred years later, and done towards England instead of Spain.)

 The main building of Chihkan Tower.  It doesn't look very Dutch, does it?  Admittedly, we are currently 400 years post Dutch control of Taiwan, and there have been a couple different governments since then, so I'm not 100% clear on how much of this current building is original, or at least resembles the original, but I was told that even the original building that the Dutch commissioned looked rather Chinese in style.  This was because the Dutch had to use the local help to build it, which for them was mostly Chinese laborers.
Zheng Cheng Gong accepts the surrender of the Dutch.  This building became his capital after he expelled the Dutch.



 From the roof of the building.
 Look at this happy guy!

 The ceiling inside.

 The view from on top of the building.
 This is a well for the building.  For a long time there was a rumor that this well connected through an underground tunnel to the well in Anping Fort.  Then some jerk went and looked into it and discovered that they are both just wells and that there is no secret passage.  Killjoy.

 Some of the original Dutch walls.

There are stones like these in lots of temples around here.  Apparently, when you have a question on a matter of great importance, you throw these and interpret the answer based on how they land.

A building that housed the Japanese "Patriotic Housewives Association" back in the Japanese era.
 Next door to the Patriotic Housewives building is an old fruit restaurant.  They specialize in fresh fruit with or without shaved ice and syrup.

 Across the street from the fruit place is the Confucius Temple.



 This tiger actually sticks out!
 I was told that this style of building, with the walled courtyard, and the red, green and blue everywhere, is a Fujian style.  Most of the ancestors of the Chinese Taiwanese came from Fujian, so that would make sense.

 This can spit water.

 There was a museum of old Chinese instruments in the temple.  A Sanxian!  This is the ancestor of the instrument I play, the Sanshin.
This is a musical instrument!  I want one!

 This is kind of like a pan pipe.
 And this is kind of like an ocarina.


 Look at these guys from the roof!

 Confucius is majorly important in Chinese culture, and since this is the oldest Confucius temple in Taiwan, there are plaques like this donated to the temple by each Qing Emperor, and by each Republic of China President who ruled over Taiwan.

 This shopping area is right across the street from the Confucius Temple.

 We went into this coffee shop with a hilariously thin entrance.  The shop itself is on the second floor of the building and is pretty normal, but to get there, you have to go through this thin little alley and up a thin set of stairs.  The Tainan Fire Department must be very accommodating.



I hope this post gave you all a bit more of an idea of what kind of place Tainan is.  It's the kind of place where you can just walk somewhere without planning ahead and probably run into something interesting.  (I did just that the other day, and I'll have more photos to post when I get around to it.)


  1. Ha! Most Americans would not be able to get to that coffee shop.

  2. 台湾の建築は面白いですね。知らなかった。


    1. そこまでは詳しくないです。でもこれだけは知っています。中国は大陸みたいに大きな国ですね。地方によって建築などが異なります。台湾の中国系の人はご先祖が殆ど福県の閩南系と客家系の人達ですから、彼等の中国の中の文化が多分圧倒的に多いと思います。

  3. なるほどねえ。解説ありがとう。