What a city it was… Actually I was not expecting much when I first see the name of Tainan on my Taiwan itinerary. I started getting excited after a short surfing on internet. And yes, I was in the middle of old and beautiful temples…
Taiwan (Republic of China) and Turkey have less things in common. One of those things is having the heritage of Levantine culture. European pioneers came and settled in this beautiful island to make trade and supply cheap substance for developing industrial revolutionaries like they did in my homeland country. Dutch was first to arrive and Tainan’s Anping Port was where they anchored.
In this extraordinary city (former capitol of Taiwan), I had chance to taste another form of Levantine culture. Spices were different, the dish looked not familiar, but the smell was the same. Europeans were here once upon. Like in Izmir port of Turkey, my city of origin.
As being the first point that the Levantines arrived, Tainan became the economical and political capitol of the island. Capitol cities, current and once upon, have idiocratical atmospheres. You can easily smell it in the air.
Take a look at my notes…
SICHAO DAZHONG TEMPLE: The temple was built in the name of Taiwanese General Zheng Cheng-gong, who made the Dutch to be sent from the country. A place of worship belonging to Taoists, just nest to the Sichao channel covered with Mangroove trees that I’ll tell you in a moment. Mostly the tourists are visiting the channel. However I must immediately mention that Tainan is generally visited by local tourists. Despite its great cultural richness, it is a city that foreign tourists have not yet discovered.
SICHAO MANGROOVE PRESERVE: I am talking about a creek with reeds that flows beside the Temple. There are mangroove trees, which are unique to the area around the 800 meters long canal. There is a tour event with boats tpat has about 30 people capacity along the canal. There are glorious tombstones around the creek. On the full moon, you can feel yourself in a horror film set. Thank God, I was there in the daytime.
ANPING TREE HOUSE: Anping is the historical port area of Tainan city. It’s the area where the Dutch took their first step. Of course, it was once the center of Levantine commerce. The warehouse, which was formerly owned by Tait & Co Merchant House, now surrendered by a huge banyan tree that swallowed it. The tree is all faded and revealing an interesting image.
ANPING GUBAO ANCIENT STREET: Each port has a bazaar. This is the old bazaar district of Anping harbor. Today, street sellers are keeping the street alive. Like I just said, it’s not yet touristy. A very nice bazaar where you can interact with the locals.
FORT ZEELANDIA: This is Anping’s harbor castle. It once had a similar function with the Ok Kalesi, which is located in the port of Kemeralti in Izmir. Completed in 1634, the Dutch East India Company built the castle.
ANPING KAITAI MATSU TEMPLE: Where I feel the best in the city! The temple was built at the end of 1600s in the name of Matsu, god of sea in Taoism. Exceptional! Admirable! There are street food sellers around the temple, don’t miss them.