May 26, 2014

Tainan - Day 2

After checking out from the hotel, we headed to the Chihkan Tower (赤崁樓).  Chihkan Tower was constructed by the Dutch in 1653 and was originally used as the administration center during the Dutch’s occupation.  Its original name was Provintia which means “eternity” in Dutch.

An interesting trivia: the original statues in the foreground has the Dutch general (with back facing us)kneeling in surrender, but two years after it was commissioned, it was changed to a standing posture at the request of the Dutch when Taiwan wanted to purchase submarines from them J
Row of nine turtle statues bearing giant tablets from the Qing imperial court

Windows at Chihkan Tower.  Bill Gate may have to pay royalty to Taiwan J
One of the temple within is a popular place for Taiwanese to pray for good exam results.  Photo above are all wishes hung on the board at the back of the temple.

The original Fort Provintia was completely destroyed during the Qing Dynasty.  What remains of the original Dutch building is this brick wall.

Our next destination was the Confucius Temple.  Built in the year 1666, it was the first Confucius temple constructed in Taiwan and back in the old days, was the highest learning institute in Taiwan, where officials were trained.  Established during hard times, the simple decoration reflects the Confucian spirit of frugality.

 Main entrance to the Confucius Temple.  The granite stele is the “dismount monument” (下马碑), indicating that visitors must dismount from their horses and proceed from this point on foot, to show their respect for Confucius.

The Edification Hall (明倫堂) - this was used for the study of Confucius classics and open only to those scholars who passed the Imperial examinations

Chongsheng (崇聖) Hall  – since 1723, the first five generations of Confucius’ ancestors have been worshipped in this temple.  Aside from honoring the birth of a great thinker, it is also to encourage scholars to worship their ancestors, as filial piety is one of the key teachings of Confucius.

There are many statues like this around the Chongsheng Hall but this little fella stood out as the only one with a playful feature

We headed for lunch after that at a hot pot restaurant frequented by locals, San Ta Beef Hot Pot (三大牛肉火鍋).  What’s unique about this restaurant is that they serve fresh, instead of frozen beef, for their hot pot.

After lunch, we went to the Ten Drums Culture Village (十鼓文化村), converted from an old sugar refinery.  This is home to the Ten Drum Art Percussion Group, which I learnt scored a Grammy nomination in the Best Traditional World Music Album category in 2009.  The group has also performed at the Summer Olympics in Sydney in 2000 and the 2002 World Cup in South Korea.

We had a guide who took us on a tour around the village.  We started at the East Asian drum museum with displays of  traditional drums from Taiwan, China, South Korea and Japan.

We were then ushered to theatre for the highlight of the tour, the 30-min Ten Drum show.  Since we weren’t allowed to take pics, I borrowed this photo from here.

We were then taken to the drumming experience room to learn some drumming skills.  We then killed some time walking around the remnants of the sugar refinery.

Drumming class in progress 

Constellation of stars on the ceiling of the cafe 

Remnants from the sugar refinery

We took the high speed train back to Taipei after the visit to the Ten Drums Culture Village.  I’m glad we had the two days break in Tainan before the gruelling 5-day meeting in Taipei.  Mum, on the other hand, went on to visit Taroko Gorge, Sun Moon Lake, Puli, Lukang, Alishan, Shifen and Pingxi with the other mums.  Wished I was in her shoes J

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