Thursday, June 19, 2008

Yanshuei's Ciaonan Street: Tainan County's oldest thoroughfare (China Post)

Taiwan's urban areas have changed massively in recent decades. However, the leaders of several towns have realized that their oldest neighborhoods are treasures worth preserving. Narrow, quaint streets are becoming attractions in their own right. As places where tourists like to shop, eat and take photos, they are economic assets.

A street that's said to be the oldest in Tainan County is currently undergoing such a transformation. A year ago, Ciaonan Street in Yanshuei was largely deserted, and many of the buildings were close to collapse. The sense of antiquity, however, was tangible.

The street is now being repaved, and the houses - some of which are said to be up to 200 years old - are being cleaned up and repainted. It will be interesting to see how it all turns out. Will it end up as sadly as Hukou Old Street in Hsinchu County, which has been renovated to the point of being sterile? With exposed drainpipes that are plastic and gaudy lights highlighting architectural features, Hukou Old Street has lost its feeling of authenticity.

The rest of the article is here.

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