Chihkan Tower (赤嵌樓) is the oldest building in Tainan's West Central District (台南中西區), and along with Anping District's Anping Fort (安平古堡), are two of Tainan's most famous landmarks. Originally built as Fort Provintia (普羅民遮城) in 1652 by the Dutch, the building set the tone as the location of the administrative center of Tainan, and has gone through numerous repairs and refurbishments over the past 300 years to give it its current appearance. Inside are Haisheng Temple (海神廟), Wengchang Pavilion (文昌閣) and Penghu College (蓬壺書院), and on the lawn outside stands a statue of Koxinga (國姓爺鄭成功) accepting the surrender of the Dutch. The statue is often scrutinized by both domestic and international tourists as they take in his heroic appearance. The most eye-catching things are the 9 imperial plinths at the south gate carried by the turtle-shaped stone Bixi (贔屭). The Bixi, said to be one of the nine sons of the Dragon King, and fond of carrying heavy objects, have added a great deal to the folklore legends of Chihkan Tower, which are still told today. At night time, Chihkan Tower is surrounded by yellow lighting, adding an ancient charm to the building. Concerts are often held in the square in front of the building, making it a much-loved nighttime destination among Tainan's residents.
Former Tainan Magistrate Residence
The Old Taiwan Magistrate Residence (原臺南縣知事官邸), constructed in 1900, is known to Tainan residents as "The Clock Tower" owing to the clock pattern in relief on the gable of the original roof (山牆圖騰狀). As well as being the official residence of the county magistrate, it was also used as an imperial residence when the Japanese royal family came to visit, making it the only building designed for royal residence in southern Taiwan. As of 1941, about 20 members of the Japanese Imperial Family had visited and stayed in the building, even more than the Taipei Guest House, which was the Governor-General's residence during the Japanese Colonial Period. This shows the importance of the building, especially as the Crown Prince Hirohito (later Emperor Showa) stayed overnight in the building during his visit to Taiwan in 1923. A new wooden wing was specially constructed for his visit, and two tennis courts were added to the right of the building for his enjoyment. Although no trace remains of the tennis courts, the fact that they were built clearly shows the importance attached to the imperial visit and the effort made.
Tainan Cultural and Creative Park
Take a right turn after coming out of Tainan Railway Station and a beautiful red building will be seen under the blue sky, behind it the towering Shangri-la Tainan hotel, creating the best view of old and new landscapes in the city. The building was originally the Tainan Office of the Tainan Branch of the Office of the Taiwan Governor General Monopoly Bureau (臺灣總督府專賣局臺南支局臺南出張所); after renovation, it was turned into Tainan Cultural and Creative Park(臺南文化創意產業園區). This once solemn building, off-limits to the general public, is now a good place to visit. Inside the Office, there is an exhibition space with an nostalgic feel where exhibitions are regularly held, and it is also a platform for industry matching and arts talent interaction; various lectures are also periodically held. Many families come to the Park to view trains, eat snacks and take part in DIY classes to make things by hand, spending some quality family time. This is a place for putting life aesthetics into practice and a LOHAS attitude to life.
Xi Hua Hall
Located between Tainan Railway Station and Tainan Metropolitan Park, Xi Hua Hall(西華堂)is an oasis of quiet amidst the downtown bustle. Cross the busy road and enter a narrow alley, and it’s like a traveling to another world of tranquility. Built in 1750, Xi Hua Hall enshrines the San Bao Fo (Three Treasure Buddha). Quite a few devotees live inside and study Buddhism. The solemn atmosphere of Xi Hua Hall has a spiritually calming effect. Despite being nearly 300 years old, the building is well-preserved. The hallway, porch and eaves all take the tourists back hundreds of years. When visiting Tainan, don’t be in a hurry to search for delicacies when you emerge from the train station, take a close look at this fine example of coexistence of city and historic building.
Zhongdao Chongwen Archway
An old stone archway can be seen in Tainan Park. Built in 1815, on it the characters Zhong Dao Chong Wen(重道崇文)(Respecting Principle and Venerating Literature) are carved; they praise wealthy Tainan local Lin Zhao-ying for generously providing the funds for the building of Tainan Confucius Temple. The archway was originally in front of Longwang Temple, in the area of the former Tainan Policy Agency on Nanmen Road. Longwang Temple was demolished in 1934 during Japanese Colonial Period, when today’s Nanmen Road was built and the archway was moved to a spot next to Yan Lake in Tainan Park.