Wanhua District, known in Taiwanese Hokkien as Báng-kah khu and historically as "Monga" or "Monka", is a district in Taipei, Taiwan. It is Taipei's oldest district. The district is home to historic buildings such as the Manka Longshan Temple, an iconic historic temple, and the Red House Theater, the first and largest teahouse and playhouse in Taiwan. Taipei's oldest, but decaying, garment district is also here.
As Wanhua District was Taipei's first district to undergo economic development, there are many old buildings and cultural sites. The large number of temples in this area is attributed to its prosperous past originating from the Qing era. The district can be divided into three sections: northern, central, and southern. The northern area, including Ximending, has become home to many shopping centers and is popular among the younger generation. Central Wanhua is known for its historical sites like Lungshan Temple, Qingshui Temple, Qing Shan Gong and Bopiliao Historic Street; traditional shopping; and local snacks. Southern Wanhua is mainly a residential area with a wide city park, also known as the Youth Park.
Wanhua District is divided up into 36 villages (里) and 722 neighborhoods (鄰). In recent years, the population in the district has been in decline. The district also has an older and fatter population than those of other districts. It also has a higher concentration of Mainland Chinese. Nevertheless, this district continues to be treasured by many as it is representative of some of Taipei's richest historical cultures. An example would be the annual temple rituals held at Qing Shan Gong, also known as the Qing Shan King Sacrificial Ceremony. This is a massive event that involves touring Wanhua for 3 consecutive nights.
Wanhua is the Mandarin Chinese pronunciation of Banka (Japanese: 萬華), a name coined by the Japanese because of its phonetic resemblance to the city's former Taiwanese Hokkien name (Chinese: 艋舺; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Báng-kah). Spellings used in English works circa 1900 include Banka, Manka and Bang-kah. The old name possibly derives from an Austronesian word bangka "outrigger canoe". This is also attributed to the location of Wanhua, which is beside the Tamsui River and was once a prosperous trading port.
In the late Qing era, Hobe (modern-day Tamsui District) was the treaty port of northern Taiwan, whereas the trade was conducted at Bangka. Therefore, in 1862, the British Consulate succeeded in extending the limits of the port up the Tamsui River to include Banka, which was more than 10 miles (16 km) from the port. Bangka was the largest and most important city of northern Formosa, thoroughly Chinese, and, in the initial experience of missionary George Leslie Mackay, intensely anti-foreign.
In the early 20th century, with a population of about 27,000, Banka was Taiwan's third most populous city, following the nearby suburb of Daitōtei. Both cities were part of the Taihoku (Taipei) capital area but outside of the city proper, which was occupied mainly by the Japanese official class.
Near the famous Longshan Temple is the Snake Alley Night Market. The market once served snake and turtle delicacies, but changed its focus to seafood upon protest from animal and environmental groups. The area is also the site of Taipei's former red-light district. Prostitution was outlawed in the 1990s although prostitutes can still be readily found. Today, the night markets are famous among both tourists and locals alike as they present a wide array of local delicacies at affordable prices.
Ximending, another main attraction of Wanhua, serves as a trendy shopping center and as Taipei's main movie theater district.
Night markets, a staple of Taiwanese culture, are everywhere. Night markets in the district include the Huaxi Street Tourist Night Market, Xichang Street Night Market, Guangzhou Street Night Market, Wuzhou Street Night Market, and Nanjichang Night Market. In addition, the district has many specialized streets that specialize in different items such as herbs, jewelry, hardware, and home furnishings.
The district is also home to three wholesale markets: the Taipei First Wholesale Fruit and Vegetable Market, Taipei First Poultry Wholesale Market, and Taipei Fishery Wholesale Market. It can be said to be Taipei's center for fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats.
Other tourist attractions including Heritage and Culture Education Center of Taipei City.
Important roads, highways, and bridges include:
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