Tainan’s temples are the focus of this seventh part of Travel Geek: Documentary Taiwan series. From the Buddhist- and Dao-inspired templage to the oldest, finest and most genuine, architecture to reveal itself to Far East Asia’s history, Tainan is definitely the premier spot to visit the world of old warriors and emperors.
Traditional temples here are based on the old world style of Asian templary. They contribute to the larger assemblage of region. And they never fail to amaze. There are more temples in this area than most places on earth (of equivalent size). And with the exception of the Penghu Islands that I just visited, I’ve certainly never seen a more condensed collection of them in my life at any other place in the world.
Walking through this area, one may as well don a suit of armor and wield a samurai sword. You’d fit right in – if not become part of the ancient scenery.
Looking in all directions, my eyes kept searching for some semblance of recent times. And I couldn’t figure it out at the time, but the confusion was actually normal. There’s simply no sign that you’re in the 21st century. It seems as though the grounds to many of these walled-off, palace-like places of worship (and residence) have been kept precisely as the original architects envisaged them at the drawing board.
The koi fish are likely not descendants of their ancient keepers, but they may as well have been transported right through the same time that these temples endured. The electric fountains are probably far cries from their mechanical predecessors – hand-cranked by myriad servants. And the shaped concrete walkways trailing throughout the gardens and over the watery moats most likely postdated a much more attractive and artful wooden assemblage of risers, pilings and intricately carved railings.
But as I’ve learned from the many wonderful experiences that I reluctantly behind: nothing lasts forever. Some might even argue that nothings lasts for very long at all.
In any case, these stoic relics of a more ancient time are testing the limitations of that ideology. And for now, they’re a treat to behold.