Tainan City
Clockwise from top: Downtown Tainan, statue of Yoichi Hatta, THSR Tainan Station, danzai noodles, Fort Provintia, beehive firework in Yanshuei
Clockwise from top: Downtown Tainan, statue of Yoichi Hatta, THSR Tainan Station, danzai noodles, Fort Provintia, beehive firework in Yanshuei
Flag of Tainan City
Official seal of Tainan City
Etymology: pinyin: Táinán; lit. 'Taiwan south'
The Phoenix City (鳳凰城),[1] The Prefecture City (府城), Nanying (南瀛)
Location of Tainan City
Country Republic of China (Taiwan)
Formed under Fort Zeelandia1624
Capital of Kingdom of Tungning1661
Tainan Prefecture1895
Provincial city status25 October 1945
Upgraded to special municipality and merger with Tainan County25 December 2010
SeatAnping, Xinying[2]
 • Body
 • MayorHuang Wei-cher (DPP)
 • Special municipality2,191.65 km2 (846.20 sq mi)
 • Urban
259 km2 (100 sq mi)
 • Rank7 out of 22
 (March 2023)[5]
 • Special municipality1,856,642
 • Rank6 of 22
 • Density850/km2 (2,200/sq mi)
 • Urban1,205,000
 • Urban density4,700/km2 (12,000/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+8 (National Standard Time)
Postal code
Area code(0)6
ISO 3166 codeTW-TNN
BirdPheasant-tailed jacana
TreeDelonix regia
Websitewww.tainan.gov.tw/en/ Edit this at Wikidata (in English)
Tainan City
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese臺南
Simplified Chinese台南
Japanese name

Tainan (/ˈtˈnɑːn/),[7] officially Tainan City,[I] is a special municipality in southern Taiwan facing the Taiwan Strait on its western coast. Tainan is the oldest city on the island and commonly called the "prefectural capital"[II] for its over 260 years of history as the capital of Taiwan under the Dutch rule, the Kingdom of Tungning and later Qing dynasty rule until 1887. Tainan's complex history of comebacks, redefinitions and renewals inspired its popular nickname "the Phoenix City".[8] Tainan is classified as a "Sufficiency"-level global city by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network.[9]

As Taiwan's oldest urban area with 400 years history, Tainan was initially established by the Dutch East India Company (VOC) as a ruling and trading base called Fort Zeelandia during the Dutch colonial rule on the island. After Koxinga seized the Dutch fort in 1662, Tainan remained as the capital of the Tungning Kingdom ruled by House of Koxinga until 1683 and afterwards the capital of Taiwan Prefecture under the Qing dynasty until 1887, when the new provincial capital was first moved to present-day Taichung, and then to Taipei eventually. Following the cession of Taiwan, Tainan became the second capital of the short-lived Republic of Formosa from June to October in 1895 until the Capitulation of Tainan by the invading forces of Japanese empire. Under Japanese rule, the city was the seat of Tainan Prefecture. After the surrender of Japan in World War II, the Republic of China took control of Taiwan in 1945 and reorganized the city as a provincial city in Taiwan Province; a role that would remain in place until 2010 when the city was merged with nearby Tainan County into a new special municipality.

Tainan has been historically regarded as one of the oldest cities in Taiwan, and its former name, Tayouan, has been claimed to be the origin of the name "Taiwan". It is also one of Taiwan's cultural capitals, for its rich folk cultures including the famous local street food and traditional cuisine, extensively preserved Taoist rites and other living local traditions covering everything from child birth to funerals. The city houses the first Confucian school–temple in Taiwan, built in 1665,[10] the remains of the Eastern and Southern gates of the old city, and countless other historical monuments. Tainan claims more Buddhist and Taoist temples than any other city in Taiwan.


Early history

Archaeological excavations in Zuojhen District suggest that the Tainan region has been inhabited for at least 20,000 to 31,000 years. The indigenous Siraya tribe dominated the region by the 16th century. The Sakam people of the Sinkan sub-tribe inhabited the area of the present-day city.[11] Other Sirayan sub-tribes, including the Soelangh, Mattauw and Baccloangh inhabited the surrounding area.

By the late 16th century, Chinese merchants and fishermen had set up several bases along the west coast of the island, including a sandbar across the Taikang Inner Sea (Chinese: 臺江內海; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Tâi-kang lāi-hái) off the bay of Sakam village (modern-day Fort Provintia). The Chinese adopted Taioan [zh] (modern-day Anping) as the name of the sandbar.[11][12][13] Slightly north of Taioan, along the shoreline near Bassemboy (北線尾; Pak-siàn-bóe), Japanese traders established bases for trade with China.[12] The early Chinese and Japanese also traded with the Sirayan people. Salt and food was exchanged for deer hides and dried deer meat. The Siraya people were influenced by both Chinese and Japanese cultures and lifestyles. They started to use Chinese words in their language, use Japanese tantō in ritual events, and also migrated inland due to the influx of newcomers. By the time the Europeans arrived, the influence of Chinese and Japanese traders and fishermen was already prominent.[12][14]

Dutch colony

Anping Fort (site of the Fort Zeelandia)
Replica of an East Indiaman of the Dutch East India Company/United East Indies Company (VOC).

Main article: Dutch Formosa

Early Dutch colonists had attempted but failed to control Macau and the Penghu islands. In July 1622, the Dutch East India Company textile merchant Cornelis Reyersz sailed to Taiwan in search of a suitable location to build a trading post. In 1624 he established a small fort named 'Orange' on the sandy peninsula they called Tayouan (modern-day Anping). The fort was then expanded and renamed Fort Zeelandia. The settlement was initially designed as a base to attack their Spanish rivals and as a trading post between China and Batavia in Indonesia. Later the post became the center of Dutch trade between China, Japan and Europe.[12][14] During the governorship of Pieter Nuyts (1627–29), there was hostility between the Dutch and Japanese merchants, leading at one point to Nuyts being held hostage by a Japanese trader, Hamada Yahee.[13][14]

The Dutch pacification campaign on Formosa was a series of military actions and diplomatic moves undertaken in 1635 and 1636. They aimed at subduing hostile aboriginal villages in the south-western region of the island. In 1642 the Dutch seized the Spanish garrison at Santisima Trinidad in Keelung. The Dutch East India Company became the first authority to claim control of the whole of Formosa, with Fort Zeelandia as the seat of government.[15]

Tensions arose between the Dutch and the Chinese inhabitants of Taiwan due to heavy Dutch taxation and Dutch participation in plunder during the collapse of the Ming dynasty. Eventually, this led to the brief, but bloody, Guo Huaiyi Rebellion in 1652.[14] The Dutch crushed the revolt only with the help of the local Sinkanese.

The settlements near to Fort Zeelandia expanded as a result of the Dutch trading post in the area. In 1653, the Dutch built a new fort, Fort Provintia, in the Sakam area as a center for an agricultural colony. The Dutch encouraged Chinese farmers to migrate to Taiwan to grow rice and sugar cane. The Dutch settlement in southern Taiwan was so successful that, by the 1650s, it had overtaken Batavia.[12]

Kingdom of Tungning

Statue of Koxinga in Koxinga's Shrine

Main article: Kingdom of Tungning

Koxinga (also known as Zheng Chenggong) was a Ming loyalist and chief commander of the Ming troops on the maritime front for the later emperors of the withering dynasty. In 1661, Koxinga attacked the Dutch colonists in Taiwan. After a nine-month siege, the Dutch Governor of Taiwan, Frederik Coyett, surrendered Fort Zeelandia to Koxinga on 1 February 1662.[12] This effectively ended 38 years of Dutch rule on Taiwan. Koxinga then devoted himself to transforming Taiwan into a military base for loyalists who wanted to restore the Ming dynasty.

Koxinga set about making Taiwan a base for the Ming loyalist movement. Fort Provintia was renamed Tungtu, and Fort Zeelandia became Anping. Koxinga set up military colonies on the surrounding plains to help feed his forces.[12] Many suburbs surrounding Tainan City today include in their names "Ying", "Jia", and "Tian", all derived from this event. After the death of Koxinga in 1662, his son, Zheng Jing, changed the name of Dongdu to Dong Ning. His chief minister, Chen Yonghua, introduced Chinese bureaucracy, built the first Confucius temple on the island, and introduced the method of salt production to coastal areas. The British were invited to set up a trading post in Anping to continue trade between Taiwan, Japan, and South East Asia. This helped to maintain the region as a center of trade.

Qing dynasty

Jieguanting (接官亭) in Go-tiau-kang, Tainan gateway to the sea during the Qing dynasty

Main article: Taiwan under Qing rule

The death of Zheng Jing in 1681 was followed by a struggle for succession. Seizing the advantage presented by the infighting, on July 17, 1683, Qing naval commander Shi Lang defeated the Tungning fleet in the Battle of Penghu. Two days later, Qing troops landed at Tungning and encountered little resistance. In 1684 the kingdom was incorporated into the Qing Empire as part of Fujian province, ending two decades of rule by the Zheng family.[14] Taiwan Prefecture was established, with its prefectural seat Taiwanfu[16] at modern-day Tainan. Taiwan County is also established as the first county of the Prefecture, located around the prefecture seat.

In 1721, Chinese peasants and indigenous tribes rose in rebellion against Qing misrule. The rebels, led by Zhu Yigui, captured Tainan without a fight. Turmoil ensued as the rebels soon fought amongst themselves. It was only after a Qing army was dispatched from mainland China that order was restored. Zhu was captured and executed. As Qing law prohibited the building of city walls in Taiwan, Qing authorities decided to create a defensive boundary around the city by growing bamboo around the perimeter. After several further uprisings across the island, work on a city wall began in the late 1780s.[11]

A flood in 1823 brought rich silt from nearby rivers, which formed a widespread new fertile plain across the Taijiang bay area between Tainan and Anping. A canal system called Go-tiau-kang (五條港; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Gō͘-tiâu-káng) was built to keep the port in Tainan functioning but prevented large ships from entering the bay.[11]

From 1825 until 1866 a shipyard in Tainan produced warships for the Qing navy from native wood.[17]

After 174 years of restrictions on trade with the Europeans, the Qing reopened Anping port as part of the Tianjin treaty following the Second Opium War in 1858. The Anping Customs house was established in 1864. Western merchants built trading posts near the remains of Fort Zeelandia.

Following the murder of 54 Japanese sailors by Paiwan aborigines near the southwestern tip of Taiwan in 1871, the punitive Japanese Expedition of 1874 to Taiwan revealed the fragility of the Qing dynasty's hold on Taiwan. As a result, the Qing sent the imperial commissioner Shen Baozhen to Taiwan to strengthen its defense. In Tainan, Shen made several efforts to modernize the defenses including inviting French engineers to design the Eternal Golden Castle in Erkunshen. He also recommended setting up a telegraph cable link between Tainan and Amoy.[11][14] Some parts of the castle were built using bricks taken from Fort Zeelandia.[18]

After over 200 years of development, Tainan had become the largest city in Taiwan and a Chinese city with foreign influence. The following is a description of the city by the Scottish missionary William Campbell upon his first arrival to the island in 1871:

As to Taiwan-fu itself, I may say that the brick wall which surrounds it is about fifteen feet in thickness, twenty-five in height, and some five miles in circumference. Lofty watch-towers are built over the four main gateways, and large spaces within the city are given to the principal temples and yamens—or quarters occupied by the civil and military mandarins. There is much need in Taiwan-fu for the carrying out of a City Improvement Scheme. Pleasant walks, no doubt, there are, and some of the shops have an appearance which is decidedly attractive; but, as a rule, the streets are narrow, winding, ill-paved, and odorous.[19]

In 1885, the Qing government commenced work to develop the island into Taiwan Province. The capital of the island (and its designation as "Taiwanfu") was moved to Toatun (modern-day Taichung). The name of the old Taiwanfu was changed to Tainanfu,[20] the seat of Tainan Prefecture.

Japanese rule

Tainan Butokuden (Martial Arts Hall)
Tainan Prefecture

As a consequence of the Chinese losing the First Sino-Japanese War in 1895, Taiwan and the Penghu Islands were ceded to Japan by the Treaty of Shimonoseki. The Republic of Formosa was proclaimed in Tainan in May 1895, in an effort to forestall the incoming Japanese occupation. A Japanese army arrived at Tainan in October 1895. Liu Yongfu and the other Republican leaders fled, leaving the city in disarray. A Scottish missionary, Thomas Barclay, was chosen by local elites and foreign merchants to negotiate the Japanese entry into the city. As a result, Tainan was taken without resistance. Under Japanese rule, Tainan was initially administered under Tainan Ken (臺南縣).[11] With a population of about 50,000 in 1904, Tainan was Taiwan's most populous city.[21]

The anti-Japanese uprising known as the Tapani Incident began in Ta-pa-ni (modern-day Yujing) on April 9, 1915. The revolt, led by Yu Qingfang [zh], spread quickly across the whole island and was supported by both Chinese and indigenous Taiwanese. The Japanese crushed the uprising. Many villages were destroyed and thousands of people were killed during the repression which followed. Yu Qingfang was captured on August 22, 1915. More than 800 people were sentenced to death in Tainan. Over 100 of them were executed while the rest were pardoned by the new Taishō Emperor. The place where the rebellion began, Xilai Temple in Tainan (臺南西來庵), was demolished.[11] The event marked a turning point in Japanese policy from forced pacification to full integration of Taiwan into the Japanese Empire.

Map of northern Tainan and surrounding region (1944)

The Japanese renamed the city to Tainan Chō (臺南廳) in 1901, and then Tainan Shū (臺南州) in 1920. Tainan Prefecture included modern-day Yunlin, Chiayi, and the wider region of Tainan. Tainan served as the capital city. The Japanese transformed Tainan by building modern infrastructure, including schools, a courthouse, city hall, new telecommunication facilities, an extensive freight and passenger rail network, a new Anping canal replacing the Go-tiau-kang, an airport, and an irrigation system across the Tainan and Chiayi regions. Modern urban designs were introduced; old narrow streets and city walls were demolished and replaced with wide streets that form the cityscape of the modern-day Tainan city center.[13] They also introduced much needed sanitary reforms.[22]

Republic of China

Tainan City in 1945–2010

The Republic of China (ROC) took over Taiwan on 25 October 1945 after World War II. Tainan City and Tainan County were established and became separate local entities under Taiwan Province in 1946. There was civil unrest in Tainan as part of the February 28 Incident in 1947. Tang De-Jhang, an ethnic Japanese man and Japanese educated lawyer, was a member of government which set up "The February 28 Incident Commission" and a popular candidate for city mayor, was accused of being a separatist and arrested by the ROC army on March 11. He was tortured and executed the next day in the park in front of Tainan City Hall (now named Tang Te-chang Memorial Park). Tang was posthumously pronounced not guilty by court later in March.[23] Like other regions in Taiwan, many people in Tainan suffered for their real or perceived opposition to the Kuomintang (KMT, Chinese Nationalist Party) during the autocratic era.

Map of northern Tainan and surrounding region (1950)

The city held its first councilor and mayoral elections in 1950. In the 1960s, Tainan was overtaken by Kaohsiung as the economic center of southern Taiwan due to the redevelopment of Kaohsiung port. While Tainan City struggled through the second half of twentieth century, the county, especially the river south region, benefited from prioritization by national programs. The completion of the National Highway No. 1 was followed by the building of many industrial parks and other road improvements. As a result, the city sprawled inland into North, East and then the Yongkang and Rende districts.

In 1992, a redevelopment plan in the West district, to widen Haian Rd and build an underground plaza proved a failure as lack of geological surveying and overall planning meant that the works ran into a layer of groundwater. The development destroyed part of the historic Go-tiau-kang area. As a consequence, the Zhongzheng Road district, previously the most popular shopping precinct in Tainan since Japanese rule, went into decline due to the poor quality of the environment. By the mid-1990s, there was a growing awareness of the need to protect Tainan's historical and cultural treasures. Since then, the government and civil societies have worked to protect Tainan's heritage. It is an ongoing issue for Tainan to protect its past while reviving its old business center.

Following the establishment of the Southern Taiwan Science Park in 1995, the outskirt of the city saw a rapid growth in population through the 2000s. The city became more prosperous after the completion of several major transport infrastructure plans. The city center shifted eastward in the mid-1990s, closer to the densely populated Yongkang, East and North districts. There are several redevelopment plans to transform these districts into the new business centers of the city.

On March 19, 2004, President Chen Shui-bian was shot while campaigning for reelection in Tainan, a city that has been a major center for the pro-independent movement since the end of Japanese rule. On October 21, 2008, Chinese ARATS Vice President Zhang Mingqing was injured when he encountered protesters in Tainan Confucius Temple.[citation needed]

Map of Tainan City before and after 25 December 2010

In June 2009, the Executive Yuan approved the plan to merge Tainan County and Tainan City to form a larger municipality of Tainan City.[24] On 25 December 2010, Tainan County and Tainan City merged to become Tainan special municipality.

On February 6, 2016, the area was hit by a 6.4 magnitude earthquake, causing 116 fatalities[25] and major damage, including building collapses (see 2016 Kaohsiung earthquake).


Ritual adulthood celebration for all 16-year-olds
Ba-wan served with sweet sauce
Datianhou Gong, built in 1664

Tainan claims its name as one of the Taiwanese cultural capitals for its abundant historic monument and citizen lifestyle. The city is dotted by Taoist temples, Buddhist temples and churches. Many of them are among the oldest in Taiwan. The city also has its own unique traditions and cuisines developed by Chinese frontiers over its long history.

Folk cultures

The lives of Tainan citizens are closely related to many Chinese Deities and temples. Parents bring their children to the "Weaving Maid Goddess" (Chinese: 七娘媽; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Chhit-niû-má), the children's goddess, to wish for goodwill. Traditionally Chinese people step into adulthood when they are 20. In Tainan, there is a large ritual celebration for all 16-year-olds on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month, the goddess's birthday. This extended celebration is unique to Tainan: In the past, families with children working in the harbour took the advantage of this ceremony to show the employers that their children should be paid in adult rate after this day.

Before any form of examination, people visit the temple of Wenchangdijun, the God of Literature, to pray for blessings of good grades. One of the Wenchang temples is on the top floor of the Fort Provintia. Many final-year high school students preparing for university exams visit the temple in June, before the exam. Those seeking for good marriage will worship Yuelao, the God of Marriage. People also visit temples for many reasons, from simply praying for good luck to celebrating particular Deity's birthday to even communicating with the Netherworld.[26]

A wedding ceremony in Tainan is a series of complex processes that are very exact and detailed. Both groom and bride need to prepare 12 specific gifts representing different meanings during their engagement ceremony with more to come in the wedding. People believe this complexity is a sign of being civilized.[26]

Anping residents use a special symbol called Sword Lion to keep bad spirits away. During Zheng's regime, Anping was one of Koxinga's main naval stations. When returning home from military drills, soldiers would put lion-face shields on the main gates of their houses and insert their swords crosswise in the lion's mouth. Locals incorporate this symbol into the design of their houses as a symbol of spiritual security.[27]


During the more than 200 years that Tainan spent as the local capital the population developed cosmopolitan tastes due to exposure to food from around the world. Portions are often larger than elsewhere in Taiwan.[28]

Many well-known Taiwanese food dishes originated in Tainan. Since Tainan was a center of sugar production, Tainan cuisine tends to be sweeter than other Taiwanese cuisines. For example, eel noodle soup has a distinctive sweet and sour taste. Milkfish dishes are very popular in Tainan, where locals also call it "Koxinga's fish" (Chinese: 國姓魚; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: kok-sèng-hî). People believe the Chinese name of the fish (虱目魚; sat-ba̍k-hî) was given by Koxinga, and this name has been loaned into Japanese as sabahī (サバヒー). The fish are bred in farms located in the coastal outskirts of the city. Many Tainan restaurants and snack stands have histories that trace back to the Qing or Japanese eras.[26]

On Guo Hua Street (國華街), a lot of restaurants and street vendors sell local cuisine, including such dishes as "savory rich pudding" (碗粿), o-a-tsian (oyster omelet), gua bao, and popiah. Local people tend to have these dishes either in the morning or at noon.[citation needed]

Tainan is considered the center of Taiwanese coffee culture with a number of coffee producers in the hills around the city. Coffee plants were first brought to Tainan in 1884 by the British.[29]


Zhuxi Temple

Tainan is famous for its diversity and density of temples and shrines. Some of them are the only of its kind on Taiwan Island. In all, there are officially listed seven Buddhist temples and eight Taoist shrines (七寺八廟).[11] As of 2015, Tainan has the most numbers of registered temples among other municipalities, cities or counties in Taiwan, reaching 1,613 temples.[30]

The seven Buddhist temples are:

The eight Taoist shrines are:

There are many other well-known temples and shrines not on this list, such as Anping District's Tianhou Temple (supposedly the oldest on Taiwan proper), the Altar of Heaven temple (天壇), and the re-built Xilai temple (西來庵) etc. They are all the centers of faith in Tainan.

Due to its abundant numbers of temples and shrines, the traditional temple decoration crafters and their business flourishes in Tainan. There are existing masters still passing on their knowledge and skills to preserve the temples in the traditional way.[26]


Taijiang National Park, Sicao green tunnel of Manggroves

Nanyin and Shisanyin were the first types of Chinese music introduced to Tainan; Nanyin is performed mostly for entertainment while Shisanyin is performed in the Confucius worship ceremony. There are two Nanyin clubs in Tainan: Zhenshengshe, a 200-year-old club once dissolved in the 1980s for ten years which then returned with the support from younger generation musicians and Nanshengshe, a 95-year-old club performing globally.[26]

Music performance is being promoted in Tainan. Tainan City has its own Chinese orchestra[31] and symphony orchestra. There are also private performance groups such as Chimei Mandolin Performance Group, Chimei Philharmonic Orchestra[32] and Chang Jung Christianity University Symphony Orchestra.[33]

Ten Drum Art Percussion Group (十鼓擊樂團) is a percussion performance group established in the year 2000. The group is dedicated in producing percussion performances that highlights the history, the culture and the image of Taiwan. The group first performed internationally in the festivals during the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. Following this event, the group has performed in many occasions both internationally and domestically. The group has its own campus located in an old sugar factory in Rende District. The campus provides education on percussion performances at all levels and regular performances to general public.[34]

Museums and parks

On top of its plentiful living culture, Tainan host several museums and parks. The National Museum of Taiwan Literature is in the former city hall; National Museum of Taiwan History is in the Annan district; Chimei Museum is in the Rende district; Taijiang National Park follows the coast; Anping Historic Scenic Park includes the entire old Anping town and the north ward of Anping harbor; and Siraya National Scenic Area includes the Wusanto Reservoir built by Yoichi Hatta. In the city center, many historic monuments from Zheng's regime, the Qing dynasty, and the Japanese colonial era are preserved including the Confucius temple, two major city gates and former city hall.


Tainan has a tangible sense of history and is the site of several spectacular religious festivals. As well as its string of forts, the first capital of Taiwan has some 300 ancient sanctuaries, from the island's first Confucian temple to its first Taoist temple.

Tainan's Taiwan Confucian Temple
National Museum of Taiwan Literature
Fort Provintia is located at West Central District.
Bee hives shoot out rapidly in the downtown of Yanshuei District.

Taiwan Confucian Temple

The Taiwan Confucian Temple (or the Scholarly Temple) was built in 1665 by Cheng Ching, son of Koxinga, to offer lectures and cultivate intellectuals. It was the first learning institute for children when Taiwan was ruled by the Qing dynasty. As a result, it is also called the First Academy of Taiwan.

The temple is a popular tourist attraction and preserves ancient Confucian ceremonies, which are conducted regularly. The grounds include storerooms for the ritual implements and musical instruments that are used in these ceremonies.

National Museum of Taiwan History

The National Museum of Taiwan History is located in the Annan District. The construction of the Exhibition and Education Building began in 2005, and opened on 29 October 2011. The main objectives of this museum include collection, categorization, preservation, research, exhibition, education and promotion of artifacts related to Taiwan's history and culture for both locals and visitors.

National Museum of Taiwan Literature

The National Museum of Taiwan Literature researches, catalogs, preserves, and exhibits local literary artifacts as part of its multilingual, multi-ethnic focus. The museum is housed in the former Tainan City Hall, constructed in 1916 and famous for its historical significance.

National Cheng Kung University Museum

The National Cheng Kung University Museum is located at the National Cheng Kung University. One of the youngest museums in Tainan. Exhibits important objects from the history of education in southern Taiwan. The museum is ICOM member since 2016.

Fort Provintia

Fort Provintia was built in 1653 by the Dutch during their colonization of Taiwan and was eventually surrendered to Koxinga. Since 1945, the site has been known as "Chihkan Tower", a phonetic derivation from "Sakam" (also spelled "Chakam" or "Sakkam"). In addition to the site's architectural and artistic significance, its library of dictionaries and business transactions documents the Siraya language spoken by the native inhabitants of the region during Dutch rule.

Shopping and recreation

One of the oldest department stores in Tainan, built during Japanese Taiwan era.

As Tainan is one of the larger metropolitan areas in Taiwan, it has many department stores, shopping malls and prestigious boutiques. Several of the best-known luxury brands have branches or counters in Tainan. Flower Night Market is one of the most famous Night markets in Taiwan and it is often considered to be the largest night market in Taiwan; however, unlike the others, this night market is open for business three days a week – Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.


In Yanshuei District, the most important and prominent fireworks in Lantern Festival are the so-called "beehives", essentially multiple launchers of bottle rockets. These rocket forts are actually thousands of bottle rockets arranged row atop row in an iron-and-wooden framework. The set-up looks like a beehive full of unleashed gunpowder. When the contraption is ignited, rockets shoot out rapidly in all directions. Dazzling explosives whiz and whirl across the sky and often into the crowd itself, both thrilling and intimidating the spectators.[citation needed]


Tainan has a warm humid subtropical climate,tropical wet and dry climate near(Köppen Aw).[35] with mild, dry winters and hot, humid summers. Beyond south of the city, the climate transitions from subtropical to tropical.

Climate data for Tainan (1991–2020 normals, extremes 1897–present)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 32.4
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) 22.9
Daily mean °C (°F) 17.8
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) 14.5
Record low °C (°F) 2.6
Average precipitation mm (inches) 20.9
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm) 3.9 4.2 4.3 5.7 9.0 12.2 12.5 15.8 8.0 2.4 2.6 2.7 83.3
Average relative humidity (%) 75 75.5 73.8 74.6 75.3 77.2 76.1 78.3 75.2 72.8 74.5 73.7 75.2
Mean monthly sunshine hours 177.5 163.4 180.7 178.2 195.8 196.3 208.8 175.4 184.8 201.1 170.6 170.3 2,202.9
Source: Central Weather Bureau[36][37][38][39][40]


Map of Tainan during the Qing dynasty
Tainan city center during WWII
Downtown Tainan
A typical scene of River North Region

The Great Cross Street

The earliest plan of the city was designed by Dutch colonist Cornelis Jansz. Plockhoy, the designer of this new settlement, laid a 25-30m wide main street (on today's Minquan Rd Sec. 2) across the settlement and radial roads than ran deep into agricultural developments .[12] The Han Chinese settlement “Heliaogang Jie” (today's Zhongyi Rd) later crossed the main street of Provintia and formed the so-called Shizi Dajie (十字大街) or The Great Cross Street.[11] With the fall of the Ming dynasty, new migrants flooded into the settlement. Chinese population boomed from 5,000 to 35,000 between 1640 and 1661. As a result, farmers, deer hunters, traders and craftsmen each formed a colony on the cross street.[41]

Due to the Chinese tradition where different trades and regions worship different Taoist gods, the city later developed into neighborhoods, each with own center temple.[41] Now, after 300 years of Chinese migration, the city has become a showcase of both Taoist and Chinese Buddhist temples. Although the city has transformed dramatically since the late 19th century, the temples remain because of their importance to the locals. Some of the early administration centers have also been transformed into temples for political and social reasons. An administrative building of the Tungning Kingdom became temple of the sea goddess, and the location where Tungning Kingdom performed annual ceremonies of prayer to Heaven is now the Altar of Heaven Temple. Castle Provintia, one of two Dutch forts in Tainan, now has a sea god temple and a literacy god temple built on top of it, creating East-West fusion architecture. Many Han Chinese religious and historic monuments can be found near the old cross street centered by the Castle Provintia.

Japanese Redevelopment Program

The cityscape of modern Tainan was founded under the urban redevelopment programs carried out by Japanese colonial government. The city center adopted a Baroque design similar to the Paris renovation in mid 19th century, the plan connected major facilities via a system of wide streets and five square-roundabouts. Among the five squares, Taishō Park (大正公園, modern-day Tang Te-chang Memorial Park) at the center is the most important crossing point. The square is surrounded by the city hall, the fire brigade and the weather bureau. It is connected by a number of avenues heading towards the train station, the airport, military bases and the dock at the end of the Anping cannel. With the police station and the court nearby, this area demonstrated the power of the colonial government within the city.[41] The financial district was located in Shirokanechō (白金町) and Ōmiyachō (大宮町) between Taishō park and Anping cannel along Ginzadōri (銀座通り),[13] the modern day Zhongzheng Rd. It was the busiest street of the city from Japanese rule to the mid-1990s. Many Colonial Baroque style historic buildings from Japanese era can be found in this part of the city.

Three Ring Belts

A three-belt system was adopted by the provincial city official:[42] the green boulevard ring, the blue belt Anping cannel and the Zhonghua road system. The green boulevard ring and Zhonghua road system first appeared on the 1937 city redevelopment plan proposed by the Japanese colonial government.

The green boulevard was a Japanese response to the garden city trend of early 20th century urban planning.[41] This system connects the Shuipingwen Park to the west, Tainan Park to the north, NCKU to the east and the Athletic park complex to the south. Zhonghua Rd system is an arterial road system, the system now connects major new development areas surrounding the old city center. The Anping cannel blue belt was created after the completion of the Fifth redevelopment area. The project of Fifth redevelopment area filled the floodplain of old Taijiang lagoon and extended the Japanese Anping cannel into Kunshen lagoon to form an artificial island, this area is also known as New Anping. In contrast to the low rise old city center, many high rise buildings are built along these three rings.

The River South Region

Beyond the city center, Tainan city can be divided into two: the River South Region and the River North Region, bounded by the Zengwen River.

River South Region belongs to the Tainan metropolitan area. Satellite towns spread across the region in a radial pattern from the city center. Southern Taiwan Science Park Tainan campus is located at the north of the region. According to the Council for Economic Planning and Development, this region is designated to grow further into suburban sprawl.[43]

The River North Region

This region is one of the major agricultural centers in Taiwan. There are several regional centers; some of them are as old as Tainan city. These centers are: Xinying, Yujing, Jiali, and Madou.

Xinying was the seat of the former Tainan County Government and currently serves as the administration center for the region. Yujing is a regional center for the hilly districts east of the city; it is famous for its mango and was the scene of the Tapani incident. Jiali is the regional center of the coastal Tainan. It was the base of the Soelangh sub-tribe. Near the bank of the Zengwen River, Madou is the regional center of the lower plain area that bears the name of the river. The town was home to the Mattauw sub-tribe.

Government and politics

Main articles: Tainan City Government and Tainan City Council

See also: List of mayors of Tainan and Republic of China municipal elections, 2010 § Tainan

Tainan City is a special municipality, which is the highest level local government under Local Government Law of Republic of China. Technically it is at the same level as Province, although Province is being streamlined. The city is led by the elected city mayor and supervised by the city council. Its subdivisions qu or districts do not have the autonomy power, instead they are administration units only. Further to the citywide election, there are urban villages (里 li) and neighborhood (鄰 lin) functioning as primary local autonomy entity.

Currently there are two administration centers, one in Anping District and another in Xinying District. They are former Provincial Tainan city government and Tainan county government respectively. Administration centers manages citywide affairs and developments such as education and city planning. Apart from administration centers, there are district offices functioning as local access point to the governmental services.

The city has generally been seen as a powerbase for the Democratic Progressive Party, especially in nationwide elections. Although before the merger, the Kuomintang (KMT) have always had more seats in the provincial Tainan city council and KMT won the presidential elections (2008) by a narrow margin in the city. On the other hand, Democratic Progressive Party always dominated former Tainan county. In the first municipal election, after the merger, DPP dominated the political demographics of the city. William Lai, a former member of the Legislative Yuan from the DPP won the first mayoral election in 2010.

Tainan City Government – Yonghua Civic Center
Tainan City Government – Minjhih Civic Center
Tainan City Council
Tainan District Court
Taiwan High Court Tainan Branch Court

City mayor

Huang Wei-cher, Mayor of Tainan.

In 2001, Hsu Tain-Tsair of the Democratic Progressive Party was elected with 43% of the vote. His closest rival was Kuomintang legislator Chen Rong-sheng, who garnered 37%. In 2005. Mayor Hsu was re-elected, polling 46% to Chen Rong-sheng's 41%. In 2010, William Lai of the DPP was elected mayor. However, after Lai's appointment as Premier of the Republic of China in September 2017, the mayor position was filled by Li Meng-yen as acting mayor.

Presidential elections

A majority of city residents have voted for the winning candidates in many presidential elections since the position was first chosen by popular vote in 1996.

1996 presidential election

Main article: 1996 Republic of China presidential election

In common with every other city and county in the Republic of China, with the exception of Nantou, a majority of Tainan residents voted for eventual winner Lee Teng-hui and vice-president Lien Chan.

2000 presidential election

Party Candidate Votes Percentage
President Vice president
Independent James Soong Chang Chau-hsiung 114,299 27.53%
Kuomintang Lien Chan Vincent Siew 107,679 25.93%
New Party Li Ao Elmer Fung 580 0.14%
Independent Hsu Hsin-liang Josephine Chu 1,408 0.34%
Democratic Progressive Party Chen Shui-bian Annette Lu 191,261 45.06%

2004 presidential election

Party Candidate Votes Percentage
President Vice president
Democratic Progressive Party Chen Shui-bian Annette Lu 251,397 57.77%
Kuomintang Lien Chan James Soong 183,786 42.23%

2008 presidential election

Party Candidate Votes Percentage
President Vice president
Democratic Progressive Party Frank Hsieh Su Tseng-chang 216,815 49.29%
Kuomintang Ma Ying-jeou Vincent Siew 223,034 50.71%

2012 presidential election

Party Candidate Votes Percentage
President Vice president
Kuomintang Ma Ying-jeou Wu Den-yih 435,274 39.80%
Democratic Progressive Party Tsai Ing-wen Su Jia-chyuan 631,232 57.72%
People First James Soong Chu-yu Lin Ruey-shiung 8,090 2.48%

Administrative districts

Historical population
1985 1,640,669—    
1990 1,710,234+4.2%
1995 1,788,612+4.6%
2000 1,842,337+3.0%
2005 1,866,727+1.3%
2010 1,873,794+0.4%
2015 1,885,541+0.6%
2020 1,874,917−0.6%
Source:"Populations by city and country in Taiwan". Ministry of the Interior Population Census. Archived from the original on 2017-12-16. Retrieved 2016-05-01.
Tainan City with its districts before merger with Tainan County in 2010
Population density map of Tainan.

Tainan uses romanizations derived from Tongyong Pinyin in street[44] and district names. Tainan has a total of 37 districts, the second most districts after Kaohsiung City.[45][46][47][48]

Map of Tainan
Region Name[46][47] Chinese[45] Taiwanese Hakka Population (January 2023) Area (km2)
[citation needed]
West Central 中西 Tiong-se Chûng-sî 77,487 6.2600
East Tang Tûng 180,828 14.4281
South Lâm Nàm 121,212 27.2681
North Pak Pet 126,229 10.4340
Anping 安平 An-pêng An-phìn 68,217 11.0663
Annan 安南 An-lâm An-nàm 199,502 107.2016
Region[citation needed]
Yongkang 永康 Éng-khong Yún-không 234,351 40.275
Gueiren (Guiren) 歸仁 Kui-jîn Kûi-yìn 68,140 55.7913
Sinhua (Xinhua) 新化 Sin-hòa Sîn-fa 42,523 62.0579
Zuojhen (Zuozhen) 左鎮 Chó-tìn Tsó-tsṳ́n 4,361 74.9025
Yujing 玉井 Gio̍k-chéⁿ Ngiu̍k-tsiáng 13,121 76.366
Nansi (Nanxi) 楠西 Lâm-se Nàm-sî 8,853 109.6316
Nanhua 南化 Lâm-hòa Nàm-fa 8,112 171.5198
Rende 仁德 Jîn-tek Yìn-tet 76,983 50.7664
Guanmiao 關廟 Koan-biō Kûan-meu 33,436 53.6413
Longci (Longqi) 龍崎 Liông-kiā Liùng-khì 3,600 64.0814
Shanhua 善化 Siān-hòa San-fa 51,900 55.309
Shanshang 山上 San-siōng Sân-song 6,975 27.8780
Sinshih (Xinshi) 新市 Sin-chhī Sîn-sṳ 37,534 47.8096
Anding 安定 An-tēng Ôn-thin 29,914 31.2700
Tainan[citation needed]
Jiali 佳里 Ka-lí Kâ-lî 58,124 38.9422
Sigang (Xigang) 西港 Sai-káng Sî-kóng 24,716 33.7666
Cigu (Qigu) 七股 Chhit-kó͘ Tshit-kú 21,471 110.1492
Jiangjun (Jiangjyun) 將軍 Chiong-kun Tsiông-kiûn 18,620 41.9796
Syuejia (Xuejia) 學甲 Ha̍k-kah Ho̍k-kap 24,747 53.9919
Beimen 北門 Pak-mn̂g Pet-mùn 10,191 44.1003
Region[citation needed]
Guantian 官田 Koaⁿ-tiān Kôn-thièn 20,866 70.7953
Madou 麻豆 Môa-tāu Mà-theu 42,956 53.9744
Xinying (Sinying) 新營 Sin-iâⁿ Sîn-yàng 74,972 38.5386
Houbi 後壁 Āu-piah Heu-piak 21,865 71.2189
Baihe 白河 Pe̍h-hô Pha̍k-hò 26,210 126.4046
Dongshan 東山 Tong-san Tûng-sân 19,367 124.91
Lioujia (Liujia) 六甲 La̍k-kah Liuk-kap 21,360 64.5471
Xiaying (Siaying) 下營 Ē-iâⁿ Ha-yàng 22,649 33.5291
Liouying (Liuying) 柳營 Liú-iâⁿ Liú-yàng 20,408 61.2929
Yanshuei (Yanshui) 鹽水 Kiâm-chúi Yàm-súi 24,447 52.2455
Danei 大內 Tōa-lāi Thai-nui 8,845 70.3125


TSMC in Tainan Science Park


Once reliant on traditional manufacturing industries, the region became a major high-tech industrial hub after the establishment of Southern Taiwan Science Park in 1995. Optoelectronics, integrated circuits, green energy and biotechnology are the park's dominant industries. Prominent companies are Chimei-Innolux, United Microelectronics and TSMC. With the establishment of Tainan Technology Park, Shugu (Tree Valley) LCD Park and Yonkang Technology Park, the city became a major center for the optoelectronics industry in Taiwan with a complete supply chain.[49]

Tainan still plays an important role in auto parts, food processing, textiles, plastics and other traditional manufacturing. Notable companies include Uni-President, Chi Mei and Tainan Spinning, which have headquarters in the city. Overall, industrial production accounted for 62.6% of the gross city product in 2010.[50]


Agriculture is important to the city, especially the River North Region. While fisheries and fish farming signify the coastal districts, rice and fruit farms shaped the landscape of the inland agriculture region. The city is famous for its milkfish, oyster, rice, mango, sugar cane, pomelo (文旦), pineapple and lotus seed. A state-funded agricultural research center was established in Sinhua District to ensure the market competitiveness of the crop.[51] The headquarters of the World Vegetable Center, an NPO that aims to improve crop quality in poorer countries, is in Shanhua District.[52]

Once dominant industries, salt and sugar production are declining into irrelevance. Taiyen (Taiwan salt) co. and Taiwan Sugar Corp., both headquartered in Tainan, transformed to businesses in biotechnology, quality agriculture, retail and tourism.

Orchid growing is one of the most symbolic agriculture industry for its well-known brand name in the floristry world. A nationally founded special plantation district with R&D resources is established in Houbi District.[53]


Xinhua Old Street

Tourism is an industry with increasing importance. As the first capital of Taiwan, the wealth resource of cultural heritage and its potential is under exploration. In the first half of 2013, there were over 7 million tourist visited attractions in the city.[54] There are high-end hotels in the city, including the Shangri-la Hotel near Tainan train station. Tainan has been praised for its variety of Xiaochi.[55]


Retail and services are the largest employment sector in Tainan, margined at 52% in 2010.[50] The city center hosts five department stores including two Shin Kong-Mitsukoshi, two FE21s and Focus square. Apart from the city center, there are shopping precincts around the city, with the strongest presence in East, North and Yongkang districts. 'Dream Mall' is a joint development project between Uni-President Corp. and Tainan Spinning Ltd. It was the largest shopping center in the city when it opened Feb 12, 2015 and the precinct will host the new headquarters of Tainan Spinning and a new five-star hotel. The precinct is in the designated East Tainan second CBD near the border of the East and Yongkang districts.


THSR Tainan Station
TRA Tainan train station
Tainan Airport
Tainan Canal, Anping


Tainan Station is a major stop on the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) Western Line, with direct connections to Taipei, Kaohsiung, Taichung, Hsinchu, and Keelung. There are also local trains to reach closer destinations.

Taiwan High Speed Rail's Tainan Station is located just outside the city center, in Gueiren District. The service is accessible to the city center via TRA Shalun Line and two THSR Shuttle Bus Lines.[56] Using the High Speed Rail system passengers can reach Taipei in under ninety minutes. Tainan’s High Speed Rail (HSR) station is located here, southeast of the city center. [57]

Public transport

Original plan for Tainan MRT [zh] system is muted due to the construction cost and the question of insufficient ridership.[58] Upgrading current railway and buses are now considered as alternative citywide modern public transport options.

Tainan has three major bus operators. They are Singing Bus Co., Shinan Buses and Kaohsiung Buses, operating in river north region, intercity routes and metropolitan routes respectively. In 2012, the city government called to restructure Singing Bus and Shinan Buses route to form a Tainan City Bus System. This new system, which set to start operation in 2013, has six main routes connecting the city and eight main interchanges. From the main routes 66 branch routes then spread out to service local communities. City government hope this new system will boost the public transports ridership and progress into metro-bus system in the future.[59][60]

A project to transform the railway in the city center into an underground is underway as part of the National wide TRA Rapid Transit Systematization in the Metropolitan Areas Project. This project will help increase service frequency by eliminate potential disruption between road and rail traffic. Further to underground transformation, two new stations are planned to serve East district commuters.[61] Together with the Shalun HSR link, this section of TRA corridor will become the backbone of the rail transit system in Tainan.[60]


Neighboring National Highway Nos. 1 and 3 connect via local highways to the city itself. Tainan City has a total of 142.9 kilometers (88.8 mi) of highways, including national, local, and rural highways.[62]


Tainan Airport (TNN) in the South District is a mere 6 kilometers (3.7 mi) from the city center. As a regional airport, it currently operates both domestic and international flights to Hong Kong, Ho Chi Minh City, Kinmen, Magong and Osaka.[63] Previously there were also services to Taipei's Songshan Airport (TSA), but these were dropped in light of falling revenues (generally agreed to be a result of the High Speed Rail commencing operation in 2007).[64]


Campus of University of Tainan
National Tainan First Senior High School

Elementary schools


Junior high schools


Senior high schools



Notable natives

Koxinga Temple
Future President William Lai began his political career in Tainan.

Some famous people born, educated or prominent in Tainan, or otherwise associated with the city, include:


Uni-President Lions have been playing their home games at Tainan Municipal Baseball Stadium since 1999.

Tainan is home to the Uni-President Lions, who play their home games at the Tainan Municipal Baseball Stadium.[71][72] It is also the birthplace of Chien-Ming Wang, Hong-Chih Kuo, Tai-Yuan Kuo, En-Yu Lin, and many other prominent Taiwanese baseball players.

Tainan also has one professional basketball team, the Tainan TSG GhostHawks of the T1 League.[73]

Tainan is the host of the biennial U-12 Baseball World Cup since 2015, organized by the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC). Other recent major sporting events held by Tainan include:

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

The following municipalities are sister cities to Tainan City:[74]

Friendship cities

Tainan City also celebrates friendly relationships with four other municipalities, although they are not considered official sister cities.


Relative location

See also


Words in native languages

  1. ^ a b
  2. ^


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22°59′N 120°11′E / 22.983°N 120.183°E / 22.983; 120.183


  1. ^ Hanson, David (Sep 11, 2014). Success Comes From Solving Problems. Taiwan: EHGBooks. p. 222. ISBN 978-1625031273.