Sanxia Old Street (三峽老街)
Sanxia is a traditional, suburban district in New Taipei City. It is mainly known for its tourism street, known as Sanxia Old Street (三峽老街), and the Qingshui Zushi Temple (清水祖師廟, meaning Divine Ancestor Temple), which is unique in its dedication to classical temple arts.
Historically, Sanxia (meaning three gorges) was an important goods distribution centre in Northern Taiwan due to its location. It quickly became a base for production and the streets of the town were lined with shops that sold dyes, manufacturing materials, and tea, however, after modernisation the town lost its economic advantages to other locations, and the riverfront area around Sanxia Old Street serves to educate visitors about Sanxia's past.
Although the town no longer is a economic powerhouse, it has still retained its cultural value, especially in and around the Sanxia Old Street area. The architecture consists of red brick buildings with hallways connected by small lanes. Dating back to the early 1900s during the Japanese occupation, the unique traditional architecture is quite different from the rest of the island, which went through a massive development push in the 1970s at the expense of many traditional buildings.
The areas around Minquan Street, Heping Street, Ren’ai Street and Zhongshan Road previously were the commercial centres, and the historical shops and alleys are being protected and still intact today.
A former base for production of tea, Sanxia complements its neighbour Yingge, a famed ceramics production base known for elaborate, beautiful tea sets with a quaint pedestrian shopping district.
It is recommended to visit Sanxia Old Street during the weekend.
On each of the traditional buildings, visitors can read plaques to learn about who previously occupied each shop and what they sold. Different shapes and figures carved into the brick buildings also have significance, for example a vase symbolising safety and an octagon to ward off evil.
Located near the southern end of Zhangfu Bridge is the Li Meishu Memorial Museum (李梅樹紀念館), commemorating the sculptor and his work helping to restore Qingshui Zushi Temple. The address is #10, Lane 43, Zhonghua Road (中華路43巷10號), and is open on weekends during the day.
Located close-by to Sanxia is Yingge and its famed Ceramics Street. Considering both of these places are outside downtown Taipei City, it might be a good idea to check them both out in one trip. It is recommended to take the bus from MRT Yongning Station (blue line) to Sanxia, then after visiting Sanxia travel to Yingge by taxi (10 minutes), finally returning by train from Yingge Station back to Taipei Main Station.
Sanxia may be spelled Sansia on older signage.