Tainan was the capital of Taiwan during the Dutch Rule and Qing Dynasty, a span lasting over 200 years. During the Qing Dynasty earth and stone walls were built around the city, including 14 city gates. Today only four city gates remain, which we will explore in this blog.
The walls of Tainan first started as a brick wall around Fort Provintia in 1652.
After the Qing Dynasty took Taiwan, an uprising by 17 year old Zhu Yigui was successful in exiling the provincial government out of Taiwan after heavy taxation and a bad earthquake had left the people destitute. The Qing took back Tainan about a month later and Zhu Yigui was executed. Later a bamboo palisade was built around the City in 1733 to prevent further rebellion. Bamboo walls surrounded the city until about 1788. When the bamboo walls started to decay, the Fujian provincial government decided to make earthen walls around the capital city instead starting in 1788.
However by 1867, the earthen walls had crumbled due to heavy rains year after year, and they were repaired for the last time in 1875.
During the Japanese era, most of the walls of Tainan were destroyed because the Japanese thought that walls around the city stifled development. The west wall later became what is now Ximen Road.
In its prime, there were a total of 14 city gates in the walls. Today, only four gates remain: Dongan Gate (東安門), Ningnan Gate 寧南門, Jingpo Gate 靖波門, and Duiyue Gate 兌悅門.
Please see the existing city gates marked with red castle icons below:
I have passed by the gates of Tainan many times but never thought to make a blog post about them until now.
Jingpo Gate 靖波門
Jingpo Gate (aka lesser west gate 小西門) was built in 1775 as a minor gate in the main western wall. Originally placed at what is now the intersection of Ximen Road and Fuqian Road, this gate was moved to NCKU campus for preservation. The main tower is a littler different from the original.
On either side of the gate are parts of the wall that were also moved here.
Ningnan Gate 寧南門
Ningnan Gate is the most well preserved/restored of all the gates in my opinion. The gate has its own park.
The park is also a safe zone during disasters.
Large banyan tree in the park.
Also in the park is the old Tainan Broadcasting Station built in 1932 by the Japanese. Now it has been converted into the Tainan Film Center.
Ningnanmen was built in 1725, and rebuilt in 1977 as the main southern gate. Originally there was a large graveyard in front of this gate.
Looking at the Da Nanmen Gate.
Closer view inside.
What I assume is a Qing era cannon on display.
You can walk all the way around the walls on top.
At the top of the gate the main building was closed off.
Another display cannon.
Dongan Gate 東安門
Dongan Gate, (aka Yingchun Gate 迎春門) was built in 1725 as the main eastern gate. It was later refurbished in 1977. It sits in the middle of a roundabout on Dongmen Road and there is a large square in front. There was no where to park so I did not get any other photos.
I missed Duiyue Gate 兌悅門 whihc was built on the western outer city walls. It is a small gate built in 1835, and still allows vehicles to pass under it.
Thanks for reading and be sure to check out more of our blogs on Tainan to come!
We are US Expats that have extensive experience living, working, and travelling in Taiwan. In our day, we had to learn many things about Taiwan the hard way. But we have come to learn that Taiwan is one of the best places in the world for Foreigners to live. Our blog does not represent the opinions of every foreigner in Taiwan. We are just trying to help others learn more about this beautiful country.