Here goes the Part 6 of my recent trip to Taiwan: A Glimpse of Old Streets in Modern Taiwan - Daxi Old Street 台湾老街漫步遊, 怀旧 - 大溪老街.
Almost every small town in Taiwan has an old street these days, but the Daxi Old Street is one of the finer examples. The architecture has been carefully renovated and is really picturesque when it isn’t too crowded.
The Daxi Old Street trip is mainly centered around Heping Old Street. The beautiful scenery along the baroque style old buildings and snack bars that are hidden behind the old streets and in the village render the old street trip an enriching experience. In modern times, it has become a historical place replete with reminders of times past mixed intermingled with modern Taiwanese town life.
Nowadays, it’s hard to imagine how a short block in Taiwan could have two such different styles of old buildings. I just love to spend time over there to enjoy the architectural beauty of the place. Old towns are precious assets to every city, as each possesses cultural significance and its own local spirit.
大溪老街是大溪古镇文化的代表, 咸丰年间, 为唐山与桃竹等地的转运中心及汇集所在地. 桃园大坝建成后, 大汉溪的河运断绝, 大溪的黄金岁月也随之结束. 如今的大溪因位处北横公路起点及邻近石门水库, 成为交通转运站, 近来观光业的发达, 老街重整, 凡是临街店面, 均需统一装饰门面, 使得旧日历史的美貌嫣然再现.
市区里古老的巷道, 朴质的旧建筑, 以及隐身于街衢巷弄间的传统行业, 仍见证昔日繁华的市街景象, 往来匆匆行旅之间, 不妨在此稍停脚步, 为旅途增添几许古老的知性与感性.
Daxi Old Street is filled with diverse stores with the façade designed in a Baroque style that is a perfect blend of the East and West. In the past, the architect would cover and hide their work before completing as they were afraid that their original design would be plagiarized by others.
A most prominent characteristic of the street’s architectural landscape is the grandiose Baroque-style façade of its shops, living testimony to Daxi’s historical roots as a bustling and prosperous trading port in the 20th century. At a glance, the architectural features of buildings on this Daxi Old Street are striking. On the north side, the ground floor storefronts are set back from the street, thereby providing an arcade for passersby, shielding them from sun or rain. On the south side, each house has a unique appearance, with façades adorned with decorative motifs such as flowers, plants and other designs.
The baroque architectural style was popular during the Japanese colonial rule. The picture patterns including Greek mountains, Roman columns, Chinese style fish etc.
日本人实施街道改建计划, 强制老城区店面要整齐划一, 街屋立面采用巴洛克式浮雕山墙, 路两旁街道全被改为 "大正式" 牌楼, 筑起了具有巴洛克风格和洛可可风格的洗石子立面, 以鸟兽花草等立体浮雕为饰, 中央冠上商店字号, 而象徵平安的花卉, 如意, 代表招财的蟾蜍, 具吉祥意象的麒麟, 祥狮, 含丰收意涵的四季水果, 以及有辟邪作用的龙马背太极, 骆驼载书, 龟鱼游水等, 都是立面上常见的图样. 每当夜幕低垂, 在昏黄的灯光烘托下, 老街更散发有如旧照片般的悠悠古意.
The façade of a Baroque-style mansion along Daxi Old Street.
巴洛克建筑特色 - 巴洛克式建筑讲究线条的韵律感, 空间感和丰富而有变化的立体感, 并带有绘画般的效果. 结合了雕刻与绘画, 并以强烈, 活泼的跃动感来表现艺术的张力, 表现的方式则以雕刻及浮雕与建筑本体相互融合, 让人一眼即可看出它的特殊动感, 宏伟的建筑表现.
Cashing in on the geographic proximity of the area to virgin forests, the residents of Daxi Old Street grew wealthier than most other islanders of the time by setting up and operating businesses related to wood. Many of their offspring are still known today for their inherited expertise in manufacturing wooden furniture. Taking a stroll along these old streets it’s never hard to find vestiges of the classical elegance that Daxi residences and their inhabitants once possessed.
Daxi Old Street has served as an important inland port since the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Despite the downfall of river transportation and the vanishing of prosperity, the old street still retains its original appearance. The stores on the old street, basically belonging to the buildings in the early period, have residential consecutive rooms with a long depth. Some of them combine the red-brick archway with red-brick rooms. Some of them have exquisitely-carved European-style stone arches, beams and pillars decorated with luxurious and magnificent embossment, a great amount of arc is adopted in the design, achieving the variety of acroter, semicircular and circular styles.
Daxi Old Street is crowded by both local and oversea visitors each day for the rich cultural and traditional style architectures, as well as a wide array of Daxi specialties, such as old-time flavor tofu pudding that can dry one’s thirst and peanut caramel candy that are handmade. There are also a number of stores selling traditional folklore toys and goods that children may learn the life of people back in old days and for the adults to refresh their childhood memories.
和平路老街紧临大溪旧码头, 自清朝以来即为大溪繁华市街所在, 洋行, 茶馆林立. 和平路老街长 400余公尺, 短短的街道上, 除了传统木器行外, 还有名闻遐迩的黄日香豆干及打铁, 打石等传统行业, 历史老店与巴洛克式华丽建筑相互辉映, 成为大溪最珍贵的文化资产.
Daxi Old Street is definitely a historic town harking back to the old days. For those who enjoy the comforts of the old and familiar while enthusiastically embracing the new, Daxi Old Street is surely a local point of interest that deserves to be included into their itineraries, not to mention its being surrounded by many of Taiwan’s cultural, historical, religious and even recreational sites. Residents of Daxi Old Street also have one more thing to take pride in - a historic site that helps enrich local culture, enhance tourism and improve the area’s image. With renewed vitality and a brand new appearance, Daxi Old Street now heartily welcomes visitors to step back into Taiwan's history.
大溪老街平常住家主要以红砖牌楼立面搭配红砖屋, 商家则以石材精雕欧洲风格的拱门梁柱和繁复华丽的浮雕图案, 呈现出以巴洛克风情为主的立面牌楼, 但是大溪老街牌楼的立面虽为巴洛克风情, 造型却采用大量弧线, 牌楼中央最高的突点几何图形各种样式, 十分特别, 难能可贵的是, 尽管河运没落, 繁华变迁, 这三条老街却能保留原貌, 并结合大溪其他文化与历史的魅力, 让大溪镇重回过去的风华. 如今, 我虽然看不到旧日的繁华胜景, 但从大溪老街斑斑的建筑美景细赏, 彷佛又回到从前.
Part 7 - A Glimpse of Old Streets in Modern Taiwan 台湾老街漫步遊, 怀旧 - To be continued.....
A freelance Singapore-based travel photographer / photojournalist. I seek the extraordinary, but finds beauty in the everyday. Life is interesting, capture it.
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