Confucius Temple

Confucian Temple in Zhongshan & Datong

Image by Daniel Aguilera Getty Images

Constructed by the famous Fujian craftsman Wang Yi-shun in the late 1920s, this temple is a beautiful example of Minnan (southern) style architecture and of Taiwan's delightful local decorative arts. Throughout the temple there are informative displays (in English) on the history of Confucius, the temple and the Six Confucian Arts (such as archery and riding), many of which are interactive and fun for inquisitive children.

Also recommended are the free Confucius-themed shows in the 4D cinema. Nine screenings (first one at 10am, last at 4pm) are held throughout the day.

When you walk through the first gate (Lingxing Gate) across from the pond, head to the far back left and look up for a delightful ceramic relief of a boy holding a lantern: the lantern actually dangles out from the panel! Other gorgeous panels of vases with blooming flowers are across the courtyard on the Yi Gate. Inside the main hall (Dacheng Hall) look for a magnificent plafond ceiling.

Confucius' birthday is celebrated on 28 September with a ceremony (starting at 6am) presided over by the mayor of Taipei. It's a colourful event and free tickets are handed out several days before the event. If you miss out, you can line up at 5.30am on the morning of the day itself to see if you can bag a spare ticket.