Tainan City is the fourth largest city in Taiwan after Taipei, Kaohsiung, and Taichung. It is officially administrated as a provincial city of Taiwan Province in the Republic of China. Tainan was established as the capital of Taiwan in 1661 and remained the capital until 1887 during the Qing Dynasty. In fact, “Tayoan” is the old name of Tainan and became the name of the island later. The city is famous for its abundant historical buildings and relics.
Tainan has been historically regarded as the oldest city in Taiwan, and its former name, Tayoan, has been claimed to be the source of the name Taiwan. It is also one of Taiwan’s cultural capitals, as it houses the First Confucian School/Temple built 1665 on the island, the remains of the Northern and Southern Gates of the old city, and countless other historical monuments. Tainan claims more Buddhist and Taoist temples than any other city in Taiwan. Tainan City is surrounded by the Tainan County to the north and east and the South China Sea to the west and south.
Like other Taiwanese cities, most people in Tainan, including taxi drivers, cannot speak English well (except for high school and college students), though some of the older generation can converse in Japanese. However, to help visitors get around, there are free tri-lingual (Chinese, English and Japanese) map-guides available at the railway station.
Tainan has a humid subtropical climate that borders on a tropical wet and dry climate. The city is characterized by year-round high relative humidity and temperatures (although temperatures do dip somewhat in the winter months), with a rainy season (April to September) and a dry season (October to March).