January 24 Jingxi Street, Xinhua, Lugang Authentic versus Recreated

Xinhua is a small city just north of Tainan in Taiwan. Since the early part of the 20th century, Xinhua has been a fruit wholesale center. Around 1920, dozens of baroque-influenced store buildings were constructed along what is now Jhongjheng Road. Most of these buildings survive in good condition, and the street, known as “Xinhua Old Street,” has become a tourist attraction. It felt both historic and real when I walked down this street. The buildings had been preserved, and kept in use, although most cater to tourists right now instead of selling fruit!

Ann and Harmony at the corner of Xinhua’s historic Jhongiheng Road

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Close up of the building

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Harmony taking photos of buildings on Jhongiheng Road

Close up of the building

Looking down Jhongiheng Road in Xinhua

This is very different from JinLi street in Chengdu. JinLi street was recreated to look like it once was….maybe. Near Wuhou Shrine, JinLi is a popular commercial and dining area copying the ancient architectural style of Sichuan . “Jinli” is the name of an old street in Chengdu and means “making perfection more perfect”. The ancient Jinli Street was one of the oldest and the most commercial streets in the Shu Kingdom, and was also well-known throughout the country during the Qin, and Han Dynasty Periods. Today, it has tea houses, restaurants, a theatrical stage, handicraft stores, local snack vendors and shops.

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Ann standing in front of the entrance to JinLi Street in Chengdu

It has an official entrance. Likely, the original street did not!

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Lanterns hanging overhead, and a carriage by the wall on JinLi street

Lanterns probably hung over the street only during festivals, not everyday. And there is no one to offer a ride in that carriage. But that woodwork on the building is still very beautiful!

A handicraft booth selling calligraphy brushes of all sizes

Calligraphy brushes made from cows’ horns? Likely meant more for modern souvenirs than historically accurate. But there were signs in Chinese on all the handicraft vendors stalls telling a bit about the history of the craft items they were selling. That is a nice modern touch; I just wish that the signs were also translated into English so I could read them!

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The stage above JinLi street

A stage above the street? A great idea, but I am sure that it is not historically accurate!Still, it was a fun place to visit and eat and shop, and I would love to go back. Perfect for tourists!

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Stone recreated buildings along JinLi street

For further comparison, there are a few more pictures of Lugang’s historic streets. These date from the Qing dynasty period, from 1784-1911. They have been preserved, repaired and then made more “tourist friendly”, rather than being recreated for tourists.

Harmony walking down a street in Lugang

This place looks like it it still being occupied!

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An historic house along a street in Lugang

Ann and Harmony in the front courtyard of a house in Lugang

All of these places were fun to visit, but I find myself really appreciating that Taiwan has preserved more of its historic buildings so that they don’t have to go and recreate them for tourists.

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