Dihua Street 迪化街 (sometimes Tihua Street, before 1947 中街 Zhong Street or Middle Street) is the oldest street in Taipei. Parts of the street date back to the 17th century, but most of it was built in from the 1850s on during the Qing dynasty, when this part of Taipei, then named Tataocheng, became the biggest trade center in the city, which continued in the early 20th century during the Japanese rule over Taiwan. Dihua street is today located in the western part of Taipei's Datong district and connects the southern with the northern part. It features several buildings that had retained the Japanese colonial architecture and a lot is being invested to preserve it (Info: Source).
For me this street is a totally different Taipei. It does feel like you're walking around Japan and China a hundred years ago, the smells of green tea and mushrooms are predominant. I recommend everyone who comes to Taipei to visit this street, even if parts of it are not clean and many buildings are deteriorating, it's still worth to pay a visit. This is Taipei's oldest part, why would you want to miss that? There are several temples along the way as well as popular stalls, that sell all kinds of local delicacies. The street however is not like a food market, only the most southern part has a food area, the rest is full of retailers.
Take a walk with me and tour Dihua Street with me (from March 2011):
I heard that Dihua Street is the busiest around Chinese new year, because so many people buy things in preparation of the festivities. So if you want to see big crowds, go before new year, if you want more or less empty streets, it's best you choose a warm spring day, just like me.
To go to Dihua Street, alight at Zhongshan MRT Station and walk West (check my Datong map for the exact location).
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