Wednesday, February 13, 2013

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Images of Taishan

2/13/2013 Taiwan Explorer


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Yesterday my wife and I went to explore a part of Taipei we've never been before: Taishan 泰山. It's one of the city's most western districts, too often far away from the rest of Taipei and not known as a popular travel destination. Most of the district is rural, my wife and I however visited the narrow urban area parallel to Sinjhuang. The Mingzhi Road 明志路 is the district's main road and at the same time the oldest part of the former township and that's where we were initially headed. We visited Taishan, because I read about some interesting remains from the Qing Dynasty such as an old street, temples and an academy. I'm very interested in the early Taipei and most of it is today found in one of the suburban districts rather than in the central Taipei. We took the MRT to Mingquan West Road MRT Station and then took one of the buses, that go to Sinjhuang, Taishan and all the way to Wugu. There are a plenty of options and I realized, that Taishan isn't as isolated from the rest of the city as I thought. Another option would also be to take the MRT all the way to Fu Jen University MRT Station (currently the last MRT station of the Xinzhuang Line) and then take a bus to Taishan from there. The first sight we visited was the Upper Taishan Temple. From there we walked all the way to the Lower Taishan Temple, it took us about 35 mins (see the map on the right).

Let me show you our photos of Taishan and introduce the most interesting spots:

1. Upper Taishan Temple 頂泰山巖

The Upper Taishan Temple is the oldest temple in the area. The original one was built in 1754, but was later several times expanded and renovated, the last big renovation was completed in 1936. The masters did a great job, the temple is beautiful.

The big paifang to the temple is visible from the Minzhi Road.

Lunar New Year festivities attracted a lot of visitors.

Beautiful swallow tail roof is part of Taiwan's Fujianese architectural heritage.

We went at the back of the temple.

My wife was enjoying beautiful flowers.

The temple provided free noodles for good luck - we tried some.

This was one of the best noodles I've had this year.

Read my post about the Upper Taishan Temple here>>

After we left the temple, we passed by this condo plastered with tiles.

We saw the Neo Sky Dome in Banciao's Xinpu area.

2. The Mingzhi Academy 明志書院

The Mingzhi Academy was the earliest founded academy in Taiwan and had two branches: Hsinchu and Taishan (source). The beautiful building was built in 1764 and is one of the finest examples of Fujianese swallow tail roof architecture.

This house is truly a gem.

This is the small front yard.

Photo taken from the other side of the street.

We went further and saw this old house nearby.

This huge condo is the biggest in the area.

3. Gouziqian Old Street 溝仔墘老街

This is Taishan's small old street, which we happened to chance upon without planning to visit it. It was located right next to the Lower Taishan Temple, that's why we found it. The name means something like "Stream Side Old Street" and originates from Taiwanese language.

The name of the street is carved in the stone.

There is a very old house right on the left.

This is further up.

This old house is very beautiful, but nearly falling apart.

A small side lane leads to an old well.

We had a look and then headed back - wifey was fast.

4. Lower Taishan Temple 下泰山巖

The Lower Taishan Temple is merely a century old, but it's kind of Taishan's main temple, because it's located right in the middle in what appears to be the district's central plaza. I personally like the Upper Temple more, but this one very beautiful as well.

Lanterns ornamenting the entrance of the temple.

Wifey praying on the first floor (hopefully we got some blessings).

This is the look down on the town square.

Fresh sausages captivated a young boy's attention.

We decided to leave the temple and find a place to eat.

Read my post about the Lower Taishan Temple here>>

The Mingzhi Road near the temple was full of yellow lanterns.

We grabbed a bite in a small place nearby and planned our next steps.

Aside from visiting Taishan, I also wanted to go to Wugu to see the Xiyun Temple, one of the oldest temples in the area. It was getting late already and the buses were scarce due to the new year, so we took a cab. This was a good idea, because the temple is located a little bit up on a hill. If you want to see how it looks like, check my post. All in all I would recommend Taishan for a half day trip to those, who live in Taipei and have seen pretty much everything already. As for foreign tourists, I would not take this part of Taipei as your priority. There are some other less known areas, that can be explored in Taishan such as the Cixiu Park 辭修公園, but we skipped it, because my wife is easily tired due to her pregnancy. Nevertheless, it was a wonderful mini-trip, probably the last one before our baby sees the light of day.

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