The densely-populated suburb of Luzhou (蘆洲) isn’t exactly at the top of any lists of Taipei tourist hot spots, but the street market around the Baohe Temple (保和宮) and Yonglien Temple (湧蓮寺) does have a certain chaotic charm to it with its colorful stalls and raucous vendors.
The Baohe Temple was built in 1910 when China was still ruled by the Qing Dynasty and is dedicated to Baosheng Dadi (保生大帝), the god of medicine, as well as other Daoist deities.
The Yonglien Temple is much grander than Baohe Temple and dominates the market area. Originally built in 1872, the temple is dedicated to Guanyin (觀音) and is the main Buddhist center in the area. Its name literally means “flourishing lotus flowers.”
A few hundred meters from the Yonglien Temple is the Lee Family Historic Estate (蘆洲李宅古蹟), one of the very few traditional Chinese mansion complexes that remain in the Taipei area.
Almost hidden away in a forest of faceless apartment blocks, the complex provides a tantalizing glimpse of what life was like for the rural Taiwan gentry in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. Its elegant eaves, graceful arches, and airy courtyards take you back to slower, more peaceful times.
The Baohe Temple, Yonglien Temple, and Lee Family Historic Estate are just a few minutes’ walk from the Sanmin Senior High School MRT station on the Luzhou line. Admission to the Lee Family Historic Estate is NT$100.