Tiantan (Altar of Heaven)

Tiantan (Tiāntán 天壇) Tiantan is usually translated as the Altar of Heaven. It is the altar to the god that rules over all the mortal realms. He is commonly known as the Jade Emperor (Yù Huáng 玉 皇). His worship in Taiwan goes back to the early days of Chinese settlement when Zheng Chenggong made … Continue reading

Zhuxi (Chu Hsi) Temple

Zhuxi Temple (Zhúxī Sì 竹溪寺) The origin of this temple is surrounded more by legend than facts. Legends talk about a beautiful Buddhist temple on the south bank of the south river in Tainan. It was on a hill surrounded by gorgeous natural landscape. Bamboo grew all along the small river that ran next to … Continue reading

The Zheng Ancestral Shrine (Ancestral Shrine of Koxinga)

The Zheng Ancestral Shrine (Zhèng Shì Jiā Miào 鄭氏家廟) Much is made of the achievements of the national hero Zheng Chenggong (鄭成功), also known as Koxinga. He defeated the dutch and established the first Chinese kingdom on the island of Taiwan, and thus he has his own shrine dedicated to his worship in Tainan. However, … Continue reading

Luermen Matsu Temple

Luermen Matsu Temple (Lùěrmén Tiānhòu Gōng 鹿耳門天后宮) The Matsu Temple at Luermen supposedly marks the spot where Zheng Chenggong (Koxinga) made his landing to attack the Dutch settlements at Fort Zeelandia and Fort Provintia. According to legend, the Goddess Matsu aided Zheng in his landing at Luermen. The Dutch had sunk obstacles along the shore … Continue reading

Jinhua Temple

Jinhua Temple (Jīnhuā Fǔ 金華府) While most temples in Tainan have the title miào (廟) or sì (寺) in reference to being temples, Jinhua Temple is has the title of fǔ (府), which has a closer meaning to house. This modest temple is indeed more like a house than a temple structure. While most temples … Continue reading

Kaiji Lingyou Temple

Kaiji Lingyou Temple (Kāijī Língyòu Gōng 開基靈祐宮) Although this temple is right down an alley from Chikan Lou, it is seldom visited by tourists. The caretaker jumped out of his seat to give me a tour of the place when he saw that I was photographing it. For a small and lesser known temple, though, … Continue reading

City God Temple

City God Temple (Chénghuáng Miào 城隍廟) The front door of this temple perhaps sits closer to the street than any other in Tainan. All the action (or at least traffic) of Qingnian Road whizzes by this temple in a constant furry, making it one of the most environmentally-integrated temple exteriors in the urban landscape of Tainan … Continue reading

Shuixian Temple (Water Fairy Temple)

Shuixian Temple (shuǐxiān gōng 水仙宮) Tucked away in Shuixian Temple Market is a tiny gem of a temple and a real piece of history. Located at the head of Shennong Street, this temple was a control center for much of the on-goings of the Five-Channels Area during the Qing Dynasty. When this was a busy port area … Continue reading

Official God of War Temple (Sacrificial Rites Martial Temple)

Official God of War Temple (Sì Diǎn Wǔ Miào 祀典武廟) The Official God of War Temple is the one with the long, red-ochre wall that’s across from Chikan Lou. That’s the feature that I always think of when it comes to this temple. It’s rare to have the side of a temple fully exposed, and few of them have so nice a … Continue reading

Dehua Hall (Dehua Temple)

Dehua Hall (dé huā táng 德化堂) This building originally dates from 1837, but has been renovated many times. I’ve always liked this temple from the outside. I like the long wall and the simple, low-lying architecture. There’s something very simple, unassuming and peaceful about the place. The lack of colorful dragons and deities adorning the roof should tell … Continue reading