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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Changhua City: First impressions

Taiwan's Buddha City


Changhua City 彰化市, the capital of Changhua County, is one of the biggest cities in Central Taiwan and something like a little sister to the much larger neighboring Taichung. Although commonly in its shadow, it does have some interesting spots, that Taichung city generally lacks. For one, there is the Bagua mountain with a famous 26m tall Buddha statue, that is know all over Taiwan and attracts a lot of visitors to the city throughout the year. In addition, one of the most impressive Confucius temples are found in the city, as well as some remaining buildings from the Qing dynasty and Japanese rule. Changhua is far from being a gem, but not as bad to be completely disregarded by avid city travelers.

I was always curious about this city and never had the chance to visit before. Usually I would just pass through on the train and see a few roof tops in the distance. When I first came out of the Changhua's main railway station, I was quite disappointed. My first thought was: Like Zhongli, just messier. But that's because the main station area is one of Changhau's worst parts. Once you walk inside the city center, the atmosphere becomes much more pleasant and the best part is below and on Bagua mountain, which features one of the best views in this part of Taiwan.

In this series of posts about Changhua City, I will introduce to you its most beautiful spots. Let's start with a walk from the main railway station to the Confucius temple and right below Bagua mountain. Please click on the links at the very bottom to read the next post.

Changhua Main Station 彰化車站

Skinny palm trees cover the old facade. Not an architectural masterpiece.

The symbol of Changhua City. Is it a hand? A rooster? A fallen angel?

The sky is very blue above Changhua.

This high-rise near the main station has seen its glory days a long while ago.

Central Changhua 中彰化

Central part is rather small, with narrower lanes and lots of posters and banners.

An intersection in Changhua's center.

Yuanqing temple 元清觀

This lovely temple from the Qing dynasty dates back to 1763 (source).

The temple looks like new.

Confucius temple 彰化孔廟

This magnificent temple dates back to 1726.

There's no admission fee, just enter and soak in the atmosphere.

The main hall of the temple is probably the most beautiful historic site in the city.

This was truly the most impressive site in Changhua for me. Read more here>>

Walking further around the area, I found this small temple.

Food in Changhua 彰化美食

And then it was lunch time! My wife brought me to two of the most famous restaurants in the city. Changhua is famous for their unique bawan, as well as a noodle with a very curious name... have a look:

Ah Zhang's Bawan restaurant is one of the most famous restaurants in the city.

The whole area is full of hungry people, most are visitors from other parts of Taiwan.

And here it is: The famous Changhua bawan. It's very rich and unique in taste, most likely not to appealing to Western taste buds. My wife was not too impressed either.

Right next to it is the famous Cat and Mouse Noodle shop.

Although it's not cat and mouse meat balls, it's still a delicious bowl of noodles.

Butokuden 武德殿

This is a butokuden, a training hall for newly drafted Japanese soldiers.

The building is very well preserved.

Side view.

Piety temple 節孝祠

The piety temple is located right next to the butokuden.

It was behind a fence. I took this photo through the grills.

And then we finally headed to the Bagua mountain.

It was interesting to explore Changhua's central part. The temples were very impressive and the small tour, which we started at the main station, was worth the effort. More in my next post, where I will introduce Bagua mountain and the Great Buddha.

[My TAIWAN TRAVEL page][TAIWAN][All photos by MKL, 2012]

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