Xinzhuang has a long, colored history. It began its rise during the last few years of the Qing dynasty Kangxi era, more than three centuries ago, and at one point it was the commercial center of northern Taiwan and the island’s third most bustling city, surpassing even Bangka. Today memories of this bygone era can be seen on Xinzhuang Old Street, which is also known as Temple Street. Century-old traditional shops remain and there are numerous ancient temples, including Guangfu Temple, a level two national monument, and Wusheng and Ciyou temples, both level three national monuments. Some lanes connected to the street became associated with historical parables, such as Lane 359, which was known as “Theater Alley” and showed famous plays like Li Tien-Llu’s “I Wan Jan” and Hsu Tian-fu’s “Hsiao Hsi Yuan.” Lane 278 was known as the “water collecting lane” because before there was running water, water sellers would pass through it to reach the Dahan River. And Xinzhuang’s rice grain center was located in Lane 387, which was known as the “Rice Market Lane.” If you have the opportunity, try walking through these lanes. You never know what mysteries you might dig up left over from Xinzhuang’s golden age.