Qiaonan Old Street
Qiaonan Old Street
Just up the street from Yongcheng Theater, visitors will find a bridge that crosses the small waterway to the left of the road. This stream was once a gateway to Yanshuei’s Yuejin harbor, which was completely silted in by the end of the 19th century, but which had once been one of Taiwan’s busiest seaports.
Crossing the bridge will lead you directly into Qiaonan Old Street (Qiaonan means “south of the bridge”), one of the earliest streets in Yanshui, and in fact in one of the first areas of Chinese settlement in Taiwan after Zheng Chenggung defeated the Dutch at Anping Fort to take control of the island.
Qiaonan Old Street originally led straight off of the harbor, making it prime real estate in Yanshuei’s heyday as a port city. For some 200 years from the late 17th century to the end of the 19th century, this street was a bustling trading center filled with the homes and shops of wealthy merchants. Now it is a quiet, inviting brick lane that offers visitors a peek into the town’s earlier history.
A good dozen of the buildings on Qiaonan Old Street date back to before the 1880s—some are said to be over 200 years old. This is a great place for a relaxing stroll. You can stop in for a leisurely coffee at Qiaonan Coffee House, visit the Old Street Cultural Building, or check out the temple, which is dedicated to the god Syuanwu, the Dark Warrior. Qiaonan Old Street is a great place to take photos, so bring a camera or at least make sure your mobile phone has a full charge.
Perhaps the most famous establishment on the entire street is the blacksmith’s shop on the right just past the bridge. The century-old shop has been in the same family for six generations. If you stop in, you will find a huge selection of choppers, machetes, hoes, banana knives, betel nut knives, and just about any other kind of knife, small or large, that you could imagine, all hand made by the owner.
Qiaonan Old Street is the kind of place that you could wander through in fifteen minutes or poke around in for two hours; either way, you’ll be glad you stopped by.
Qiaonan St., Qiaonan Vil., Yanshui Dist., Tainan City 73742, Taiwan (R.O.C.)