Wanhua (萬華; wànhúa) district, bounded by Zhongzheng to the east and the Danshui River to the west, is the oldest part of the city. Founded by immigrants from China in the early eighteenth century, the village was gradually absorbed by newly created Taipei in the 1890s. Originally known as Bangka or Manka in Taiwanese (from the Ketagalan word for “canoe”), its name was changed by the Japanese in 1920: the new characters read “Manka” in Japanese but “Wanhua” in Chinese. It’s best explored on foot – some of the city’s most famous temples and markets remain squashed between modern apartment blocks and to the north, Ximending is one of Taipei’s funkier neighbourhoods.

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