Great East Gate
Great East Gate (Dàdōngmén 大東門)
There are two great gates left in Tainan City from the time in which the city was protected by walls. While the Great South Gate (Dànánmén 大南門) is a more impressive site to visit, the Great East Gate (Dàdōngmén 大東門) is probably more integrated into the lives of people in Tainan. It sits in the center of a traffic circle that is a major connector for traffic traveling between the downtown and the east side. It’s no Namdaemun (Seoul’s Great South Gate), but on a much smaller scale it serves as such for the small city of Tainan.
The Great East Gate was originally built in 1725 and had its gatehouse added in 1736. It was expanded to its present dimensions in 1788 when they were transforming the city walls from wood to clay bricks and cement. During the Japanese period, most of the city walls and gates were destroyed. Much of the east gate remained, but it was badly worn by the middle of the 20th century. In 1975, the gate and gatehouse were restored to its present appearance.
Not much is left of the former walls and gates. Part of the south wall can be found on Shulin Street. Some of the east wall still remains in small patches on the NCKU campus. There, you can also find the restored and transplanted small west gate and remains of the small east gate. These, plus the two great gates, are all that remains of the original seven gates (later an eighth was added). Some outer ward walls and gates were added in the 19th century bringing the total number of gates to around 14. Duiyuemen, in the Five Channels Cultural Zone, is one of these outer gates and it still remains.
The gate is near the beginning of Dongmen Road and it’s pretty hard to miss.