Hsinchu's Beimen Street is the oldest merchant street in Hsinchu, dating back to the Kindom of Tungming. Due to the completion of the railway and urban planning in the Japanese area, this street lost its importance, but many historical buildings here are still intact. It is one of the most impressive historical sites in Hsinchu and is worth a visit for anyone in the area.
After the settlement of the area by Han Chinese farmers in about 1711 during the Kingdom of Tungming, what was then known as Zhuqianshe became the most important economic area in northern Taiwan. By 1723, a walled city was built here out of bamboo, because brick walls were forbidden for fear of a revolt against the Qing authorities. The name Zhuqiancheng (竹塹城) literally means bamboo moat city. The bamboo-walled city had four gates and its perimeter was about 1.4 KM long. In 1806, the city was upgraded with earthen walls.
Beimen Street literally means North Gate Street, because it used to lead out to the north gate of the city, toward Bangka (modern Taipei), along the main road linking northern Taiwan. It was the most important economic area in Hsinchu until the end of the Qing Dynasty. Goods were brought from the old harbor to this street, where they were then distributed to other places nearby.
Unfortunately, a fire took place here in 1901 which destroyed much of the original old wooden structures. After Japan took control of Taiwan, they created a new urban plan for the city. which moved the city center about 500 meters to the south around the East Gate. This along with the new Hsinchu TRA station meant that Beimen Street would gradually lose its economic importance.
However many rich families still based their livelihood on this street, including the Beimen Gentry. There was also an incident during WWII when allied bombers attacked a mansion on the street, mistaking it for the Japanese governor's mansion.
24/7, but I recommend visiting at night when the night market it open.
How to get there:
The old street is within walking distance of Hsinchu TRA station.
Please see below:
I have been past Beimen Old Street a few times. It is not the most commercialized of old streets in Taiwan. When passing by, you might think it was just any regular street in Taiwan. There are lots of colorful signs that cover most of the buildings here.
View of the arched walkways on the street.
Closer view of the shops on the street.
Nearby you can visit the Chenghuang Temple.
And you can also check out Chenghuang Temple Night Market.
You can also visit the East Gate.
And you can check out the Hsinchu Train Station.
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