Love Note #24: When Taiwan’s Architectural Traditions Come to Life in Tainan

Tainan is long known for its authentic representation of Taiwanese cuisine and culture, but many have started to realize its dedication to preserving Taiwan’s architectural tradition. A tour through the historic part of Tainan can give you a clear idea why the city tops the list of must-visit places for many tourists. The antique-looking balcony of many residential houses and the historic temples are some of the best examples of Taiwan’s architectural excellence.

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One thing that Tainan does so well is its dedication to preserving historic architectures. Instead of randomly erecting a modern-looking skyscraper in the middle of some of Tainan’s most prominent historic sites, the city government keeps the area close to its original look by maintaining some of the most iconic architectural traits to many historic buildings. The result is a coherent look and feel to the whole area without having too many modern buildings unexpectedly sprouting up to disrupt the overall view.

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As a city with a high density of historic temples, one can’t miss the chance to experience a deep tour through them. A few uniquely Taiwanese architectural features can be easily spotted among them: the dominant color of red, the colorful dragon sculptures, and golden decorations on censors. It’s natural to be mesmerized by the delicate techniques applied to these architectural details. They reflect the depth of Taiwan’s architectural tradition while showcasing the unique taste, aesthetic perception and design concept that run through Taiwan’s architectural history.

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Although these temples may not be as visually impressive as modern skyscrapers at first sight, the combination of delicate architectural details can often create lasting impressions on visitors. At a time when many of these traditional architectural traits are slowly taking over by modern and less Taiwanese architectural traits, Tainan continues to pride itself by upholding Taiwanese architectural traditions. By keeping preservation of tradition at the core of its urban planning strategy, Tainan is a living example of how Taiwanese cities can build a positive reputation among tourists through an emphasis on cultural traditions.

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Taiwan may never be able to impress the world by following what other countries have done, but if we focus more on highlighting the cultural traditions that are uniquely Taiwanese, we may have a better chance of earning more positive recognitions that could eventually help us cope with the growing international alienation.

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