Tainan Confucius Temple – Tainan City, Taiwan - Atlas Obscura

Tainan Confucius Temple

The first Confucian temple in Taiwan, founded by the son of a pirate lord, doubled as the island's first state-sponsored school. 

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In 1665, Zheng Jing, the son of pirate lord Zheng Chenggong (Koxinga), created the first Confucius temple and center for Confucian learning in Taiwan. When the Qing Dynasty conquered Taiwan in 1683, they quickly adapted it to their own regime. To this day, the elegant 350-year-old compound can be found in Tainan’s historic central district, and is still used to perform Qing-era Confucian rituals.

Inside the compound, the Hall of Edification, which was once the academy, is situated to the right, while the temple palace itself is inside an inner courtyard to the left. Exhibits along the edges of the inner compound showcase the traditional instruments and dances used for Confucian ritual rites.

From the ceiling of the temple palace hang memorial plaques dedicated to every Qing Emperor from Kangxi onward, except the last, who took the throne after Taiwan had been annexed by Japan. Plaques dedicated to every president of the Republic of China in Taiwan, from Chiang Kai-shek to the present, hang as well. 

The compound is distinguished by its elegant decoration, which is far more austere than the typically ornate Buddhist and Daoist temples common in Taiwan. 

Know Before You Go

The temple is open daily from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm.  While the outer portion of the complex, including the Hall of Edification, is free, the inner compound with the temple palace costs $40 NTD to enter.

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May 6, 2024

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