January 11 Lugang, Taiwan

Lugang is a very historical town that we visited on our way to Tainan for the weekend. Lugang was the economic and transport hub of central Taiwan in earlier times. The saying “first Tainan, second Lugang and third Mengjia (today Wanhua District in Taipei),” illustrates the position of the town in its early days. In addition to being the early cultural capital of Taiwan, Lugang was also very prosperous. During the Qing period, the town was an important trading port. The name of the town, Lugang, means deer harbor.

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Notice the deer on the signs pointing to the tourist sites!

Harmony and Ann in front of the Matsu temple

Guanyin temple in Lugang

I could not help but notice that of the temples had a convenience store right in its entrance courtyard! In Taiwan, even the temple visitors and priests don’t have to go far to find a place for to pick up a snack or pay a bill!

Family Mart convenience store in Matsu temple courtyard

Lugang still has many historic buildings and alleys, but it is no longer a comercially important place. Why? When the railroad was being built, the town refused to have the trains come through town. So goods and people went elsewhere. This recalls part of North Andover’s history as well! Refuse the train, and become a quaint, unimportant town! Below is a photo of the railroad train monument next to a visitor center recalling the town’s history. This photo of a stone mansion in Lugang that reminded me of Stevens Estate, as it is built in the same style, only it is much bigger and grander.

Railroad monument in Lugang for the train that never arrived

Beautiful stone mansion in Lugang

Lugang was also known for its cuisine and a diversity of local snack foods reflecting its broad immigrant mix. We tried many of these, including the local pastry called “cow’s tongue.” The name comes from its shape, not its ingredients! It was delicious! Below is a photo Jeff buying “cows’ tongues” from a vendor, and another photo of a Lugang historic bakery in one of the small alley stores.

Cow’s tongues for sale!

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Bakery inside a historic house in Lugang

Here are two photos, taken in one of the historic alley streets.

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Harmony and Jeff walking down an alley in Lugang

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Ann and Harmony shopping in Lugang

One of Lugang’s main businesses nowadays is as a temple manufacturing center. We saw small shops making statues, ornately carved tables, and the fancy lotus lights that are all used in temples. I had never thought about where everything in the temples I have visited comes from. Where do you get a new red lotus light to replace one that has broken? Now I know! Below is a photo taken of a small shop that makes ornate  carriers for the transport of god statues.

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Transportation for the gods!

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