Sanxia Old StreetLin Family GardenYingge Ceramics Museum

Sanxia (Sansia) is a traditional district located in northern Taiwan, easily accessible from Taipei. It has become known in recent years mainly because of its Qingshui Zushi (Divine Ancestor) Temple, which is unique among all the Chinese temples of the world for the painstaking and time-consuming dedication to classical temple arts that is manifested in its modern reconstruction work.The town, originally named Sanjiaoyong after its location at the confluence of three rivers, was given its present name of Sanxia (Sansia) (Three Gorges, also the name of its main river) in 1920. Nestled where fertile plains meet mountain foothills, and blessed with convenient inland river transport, Sanxia (Sansia) offered excellent conditions for development in the early years of Taiwans settlement by the Chinese. It quickly became an important goods distribution center and a base for the production of camphor, the growing of tea, and especially the dyeing of cloth. As transport shifted elsewhere and the use of river transportation declined, however, Sanxia (Sansia) gradually lost its importance as a commercial center.Even as the town lost its economic importance, though, its cultural value remained undiminished, mainly because of Qingshui Zushi Temple. With its unparalleled combination of religion and art, this temple is the epitome of exquisite carving and complex structure as well as dynamic center of Chinese religious worship. These features have also made it a powerful attraction for tourists from all over Taiwan and the world.Sanxia (Sansia) Old Street refers to the south section of Minquan Street in New Taipei City. Its length is about two hundred meters, and its architecture dates back to the early days when the Republic of China was newly established. Walking along Sanxia (Sansia) Old Street is like walking into a time tunnel; the arched red brick hallways, the traditional architecture, the beams, columns, ancient wooden plaques, the squat maidens walls and the figure carvings upon the buildings are all very unique. Walking along this ancient street brings a feeling of nostalgia for the good old days, and makes visitors want to linger. Sanxia (Sansia) Old Street is best preserved the along the Minquan Street, Heping Street, Ren’ai Street and Zhongshan Road. Minquan Street was the commercial center in the past, and the commercial stores and alleys that date back to the time of Japanese Occupation are still in good condition. Both the town and its street underwent modification during the Japanese Occupation; streets were expanded, rooftops, walkways, and drainage systems were also re-organized, and it was transformed into a stately, modernized street. During the time of Sanxia’s (Sansias) heyday, the street was lined with shops that sold dyes, manufacturing materials, and tea, and western-style houses were also being built quickly. Nowadays, only the red brick buildings with arched hallways and Baroque styled architecture remain to tell of their past glory.The characters carved upon the ancient buildings in the street show the first and last names of the occupants, or their occupations, or the names of the store. The character is most frequently seen here, showing that there were many dye shops; the plaques hanging above the entrance of shops also had the shops name, as well as the proprietors names carved into them. This was a much-used method of propaganda in those days. A section that jutted out from the wall of a building, and had different shapes carved upon it, was termed a mountain wall or a building these sections were usually higher in the middle, and flatter on either sides. The ornate figures upon the mountain walls had significance attached to them as well; a vase symbolized safety and an octagon was used to ward off evil. Red brick was the main material used for the side of the buildings facing the street; pebbles were less used, and cement was not used until recently, for renovations, was used for the interior walls of the buildings. Because the merchants who lived along the Street in those days were all well-to-do folks, the architectural style and the building materials used were the cream of the crop; many materials were imported, and some of the residents employed architects from as far as England. The protruding sections on the roof of the buildings and the carved patterns under the windowsills on the second floor of the buildings enhance the beauty of these constructions. The patterns are widely varied and extremely interesting to study.

The best garden in northern Taiwan, Lin Family Gardens, used to be called "Lin Ben Yuans Garden" or "Banqiao Resort". Lin Ben Yuan is not a persons name. It represents the meaning of "remembering ones origin" when 2nd generation ancestor, Lin Pingho distributed property among his five sons. Among the five sons, only the 2nd and the 5th sons are Lin Pinghos blood descendents. Thus, the words of "Ben" and "Yuan" are used for commemoration. The Garden was built during 1888 to 1893 and it is the only classic garden as historical site. It is also the well-kept model building representing gardens and residences of Qing Dynasty. Its garden scenes are inspired by Chinese traditional gardens as well as the style of south of Yangtze. The place is eloquent and is listed as 2nd degree historical site. It is admired as "the best garden in Taipei". Part of the construction materials and technicians came from Changzhou of China. The scale of construction was huge. Other than the garden and the architecture, a "three-section mansion" for 150 years old has been restored and presented to the public. The outer walls are covered with brick ornaments. There is delicate carving on the door, within the halls and on the poles supporting roof covers above front porch. There are unique windows of different styles. They are rare items in Taiwan and they fully reflect the beauty of Chinese traditional architecture.

The Yingge Ceramics Museum is the first professional pottery museum in Taiwan. First planned by Magistrate Yu Ching, the museum was finally completed after 12 years of construction with efforts of 3 magistrates. The museum opened on November 26, 2000. The museum is made up with modern constructing materials and transparent glass, presenting a limitless sense of space and the beauty of simplicity. The special structure also enhances the exhibition. The Yingge Ceramics Museum presents 200 years of ceramic techniques and folk culture in Taiwan. At the same time, the museum also has educational function with its modern technology, making it an ideal place for families to visit at leisure. This museum is not for Yingge citizens alone; it also shows how the Taiwanese have endeavored to achieve what we are today. It is a historic and cultural emblem; moreover, it is also place for the peace of mind.Traditional Ceramics Hall presents traditional ceramic techniques and tools. On the 2nd floor, pottery history and features are exhibited and Taiwanese pottery works are introduced. Features and functions of the works are presented, showing how pottery interacts with life. Children Experiencing Room is an experimental pottery area is designed for children aged from 4 to 8. The children can experience and play freely with the clay in this area. In addition, there is a pottery workshop for ceramic artists and experts to exchange experiences and thoughts. Ceramic works are widely used in today’s world, from artificial teeth, computers, telephones, cell phones, to cylinders. Here in the Future World, you can see how pottery develops into elements and materials for modern technology and how it will be utilized in the future.