September 26, 2018

The Hakka style of Beipu Old Street

Bored at home we decided to go somewhere. I had an idea of a place to go and my husband agreed. After 30 minutes drive he asks "where exactly do you want to go in this town?", I check Google map and... We are in totally different place!
But never mind, we never came here before so just take a walk around Beipu Old Street (北埔老街)

Beipu township is dominated by hills and mountains and densely covered by rivers, among which the longest river is Dapingxi.
It's the earliest developed area in Hsinchu. Development of Hsinchu started in the late Qing Dynasty by Fujian - Guangdong people. Beipu was originally named Zhubei Yibao Nanxingzhuang (竹北一堡南興莊). was The settlement buildings in Beipu focused on multi-layered protection, creating a settlement with good defensive function.
Beipu's natural and pollution-free environment is a good place to watch fireflies in the end of April to the beginning of May. The viewing period is very short, about 2 weeks.



beipu old street beipu hakka culture hakka village hsinchu Taiwan

Beipu, a small village in Hsinchu is a home to about 1000 residents which are mostly Hakka people. Their culture and lifestyle are most unique attractions here. Many of the original buildings has been preserved or renovated. 
The Hakka people first moved to Beipu about 150 years ago, but due to friction with people living those mountain - Saisiyat tribe, the Beipu town suffered many attacks.

Beipu Township and the nearby Emei and Baoshan Townships was formerly known as ''Dayu". It was a community for Pingpu ethnic group. In 1826, first Han people entered the area. Under the leadership of Jiang Xiuzhen, people from Zhudong entered the area and built Jinguangfu Mansion.

beipu old street beipu hakka culture hakka village hsinchu Taiwan

In the beginning of Japanese occupation, Beipu was very prosperous. Due to popularity of tea in Japan, a factory was opened here. In 1964 the tea factory collapsed and tea industry in Beipu declined. 
In addition to tea industry, Beipu's prosperity benefited from coal mines. It was a sad part of this town history - people suffered under Japanese oppression. In 1907 a group of Hakka people supported by Saisiyat tribe killed 57 Japanese officers and their family. Although retaliation from Japanese people was brutal and 100 people got killed.  

After coal mine were depleted, Beipu once again declined. At that time this place almost completely lost its commercial prosperity. Due to Hakka food and old street, it became a tourist destination.
Main tourist attraction is Beipu Old Street. The street is really crowded with a lot of food stalls around. Walking there you can see many narrow streets which are like a maze for every tourist. 

See also: Xinpu

beipu old street beipu hakka culture hakka village hsinchu Taiwan

beipu old street beipu hakka culture hakka village hsinchu Taiwan


In Beipu you can see the first grade historic sites - Jinguangfu Residence, Chiang Family's Tianshui Hall or Chiang-a-xin residence. Those buildings are more than 160 years old and it's a witness of development in the mountain area during Qing Dynasty. 
Jinguangfu Mansion was built in 1835. Te word ''Jin'' means gold, ''guang'' - Hakka in Guandong and the word ''fu'' represents people in Fujian. This building is build in Hakka style, without many decorations.

beipu old street beipu hakka culture hakka village hsinchu Taiwan


One of County Heritage Sites is Ci Tian Temple. A small shrine was build in 1835 by farmers to pray for peace. In 1846 rebuild into wood temple and completed in 1848 when it became the belief center of Beipu. in 1874 two sides wings and a front building was added to construction.  
This temple mainly worship Kwan-yin but also some other gods.
Ci Tian Temple is a courtyard-style temple with two entries, two corridors and two wing-rooms. Major wood used to build this temple comes from camphor tree. The temple has rare design, which is stone-carved dragon pillar. You can also see many colored drawings, clay sculpture and Koji poetry.

Because of historical and cultural values the temple was dedicated a third grade relic in 1985.

beipu old street beipu hakka culture hakka village hsinchu Taiwan citian temple

beipu old street beipu hakka culture hakka village hsinchu Taiwan citian temple

beipu old street beipu hakka culture hakka village hsinchu Taiwan citian temple


Beipu is also popular for their dried persimmons. The nice woman after noticing me just call me to try this fruit. It's pretty yummy, I think even better than fresh one. 





In Beipu you can also see Chiang-A-Xin House. Chiang-A-Xin was born in 1901 and he was a chairman of Zhudong Tea Company. After the end of Japanese rule, he founded the Yung Kwang Co, which was exporting black tea. His house was built in 1946-1949. The luxurious house was constructed for the accommodation of foreign guests and living. The building is mainly decorated with modern style. The building was repaired and restored to original appearance in 1995.



Another place to visit is Chiang's Family Ancestral Temple. This Temple was completed in 1924. At that time Chiang's family was the biggest one in Beipu. In the center are worshiped Chiang's ancestors. The temple has two halls, two corridors and two wing-rooms. Inside you can see colored drawing sand stone and wood carvings. this temple is praised as one of four largest ancestral temples in Taiwan due to its artistic value.



Address:
Beipu Old Street, Beipu Township, Hsinchu County, 314

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