Official God of War Temple


This is the oldest and most impressive temple in Taiwan dedicated to Guandi (Guan Gong), a Han-dynasty general deified as the God of War. He is the patron of warriors and those who live by a code of honour. Unlike most temple plaques, which remind believers to pay tribute to the gods, the very famous one here – '大丈夫' – means an 'upright and honourable man' and describes the essence of the deity enshrined.

The temple's overall structure was established in 1690, although much splendid artwork and many historically valuable objects have been added over the years. The long, deep-rose-coloured walls of this temple have always been one of its highlights. Other interesting features include the beggar seats around the doorframe that the poor used to beg alms from every visitor, and the high threshold at the entrance (originally designed to keep women out!).

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Tainan attractions

1. Tainan Art Museum Bldg 2

0.08 MILES

Created by Japanese architect and Pritzker Prize–winner Ban Shigeru, Building 2 of the Tainan Art Museum has a dozen galleries spread over five floors…

2. Chihkan Towers

0.08 MILES

This old fort is a splendid place to roam around, or to enjoy an outdoor concert on weekends. However, only the foundation is the original. Chihkan has…

3. 182 Art Space

0.08 MILES

A fabulous gallery inside an attractive 50-year-old building. The three-and-a-half floors of space hosts well-curated exhibitions of works – paintings,…

4. Grand Mazu Temple

0.09 MILES

This lively temple once served as the palace of Ning Jin, the last king of the Ming dynasty. If you wish to confirm visually that a king's status is lower…

5. Chuan Mei Theatre

0.11 MILES

This old second-run theatre (1950) is worth a look for the movie posters created by Master Yan Jhen-fa, the last such painter in Taiwan. You can see…

6. Altar of Heaven

0.26 MILES

Tainan families have been coming here for generations on the 1st and 15th of every lunar month to pray to the supreme Taoist entity, the Jade Emperor. The…

7. Water Fairy Temple

0.27 MILES

Hidden inside a market named after itself, Shuixian Temple (literally 'Water Fairy Temple') is a far cry from the days when it was not only a place of…

8. Land Bank

0.31 MILES

The neoclassical-style Land Bank dates from 1928. Japanese architects were heavily influenced by western ideas at the time and neoclassical revival was a…