No. 2, Nanmen Rd., West Central District, Tainan City 700, Taiwan (R.O.C.)【Brief Introduction】
The Confucius Temple is the only scholarly temple in Taiwan that is accompanied by a Pangongfang (Paifang or gateway). However, as the gateway and the temple is segregated by Nanmen Road, access is now through the Dacheng Gate, which bears the plaque ''Cyuan Tai Shou Syue'' (The First Academy of Taiwan). This cultural park is now the proud holder of three Michelin stars.【History】
In 1685 Jheng, Jing accepted the suggestion of his staff officer Chen Yong-hua to build the Supreme Teacher's Temple (today’s Confucius Temple) in Gueizaipu of Chengtian Prefec-ture with the Minglun Hall next to it. Both were completed in 1686. During the Kangsi Reign of the Qing Dynasty, the temple was renamed Supreme Teacher Temple after renovation, and the Taiwan Prefecture College was also established there. Emperor Kangsi even granted a tablet that read "exemplary teacher forever" (wanshihshihbiao) to be hung in the main hall of the temple. The temple was renovated several times over the years and the Dacheng Hall was reconstructed and a double-eave round hip roof became part of the structure in 1712.
Having seen the splendor of the tall and huge archways in Shiuanfang, Magistrate Jiang Yuan-shu purchased materials and hired artisans from Cuanjhou to make a new archway for the temple in 1777 and then shipped it to Taiwan for assembly. This archway is the surviving Bangong Archway. Unfortunately, the temple buildings were damaged in earthquakes during Jiacing and Tongjhih Reigns of the Qing Dynasty.
Taiwan Prefecture was renamed as Tainan Prefecture in September, 1887. Two years later, the Taiwan Prefecture College was also renamed as the Tainan Prefecture College. After the Japanese occupation, the temple buildings were used for other purposes. It was not until 1917 that the temple was completely renovated. As the Wunchang Pavilion was slanting and irreparable, the Tainan City Government decided to rebuild it in 1979. The temple was then appointed by the government as a First Class Historic Site in 1983. 【Features】
【Tongtian Canisters】 Also known as Cangjing Canisters, Tongtian Canisters are two pot-tery canisters erected on both sides of the central ridge of Dacheng Hall. It is said that the canister was invented by the great scholar Chu Si after realizing the greatness of Confucius. Another source suggests that the canister is a commemoration of the successful escape from the burning of books, an order of the First Emperor of China. These canisters are truly unique ridge decorations of the Dacheng Hall in the Confucius Temple.
【Copper Bells】 There is a copper bell on each winged corner of the lower eave. In addi-tion to their decorative purpose, these bells metaphorically symbolises the idea that a teacher is like a bell which wakes people with morality.
【Drainage holes—dragon head】 These four headed dragon drainage holes are stone carvings of the Qing Dynasty. They are embedded in the corners of the foundation of the Dacheng Hall, acting as drainage systems when it rains. This classical style is also called the magic fish heads, meaning champions.
【Stone lions】 There are eight green granite lions along the wall fencing enclosing the Dacheng Hall. The lions have their paws on a silk-strip ball with the lionesses caressing their cubs. These stone lions have different postures and bring a sense of fun to the solemn Confucius Temple.
【Imperial Path】 There is a granite imperial path right in front of the veranda, which is also known as the dragon rise. It is decorated with a dragon head pattern and together with sculptures of books, chess, and paintings, the Imperial Path emits a strong sense of intellectualism and artistic nature. In the olden days, only a new scholar who has passed the exam could enter the Dacheng Hall from this path to worship Confucious during the Confucius Ceremony.
--Source: Travel Information from the Tainan Tourism Website and the Cultural Affairs Bureau, Tainan City Government website.