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Taiwanese urban toponymy
The streets in the cities of Taiwan are called 路 lù roads and 街 jiē streets. Roads are usually bigger than streets. The blocks formed by them can be additionally divided by lanes, 巷 xiàng in Chinese. They often are too narrow for a car to drive through.
Long lù and jiē can be divided into sections called 段 duàn in Chinese prefixed with a numeral: 一段 yīduàn, 二段 èrduàn. At the end of each section the numeration of buildings resets to zero, so a street can have two and more houses with the same number, and that is very important to pay attention to the section number.
If a street or road is crossed by another one of a big significance, it can be considered as two separate ones divided by point of crossing and called depending on geographical direction: 民族西路 MínzúXīlù and 民族東路 MínzúDōnglù (West Nationalities' Road and East Nationalities' Road).
Lanes are mostly called with numerals (but sometimes can have their own names), that's why always come together with their basic street or road's name.
Here are the examples of real addresses:
Coming to most widely used names for roads, it's just the time to recall the usual practice of many countries: utilizing the names of historic figures.
In the province of Taiwan, every city has a street named after Dr. Sun Yat-sen (孫中山 Sūn Zhōngshān) 中山路 Zhōngshānlù or 中山街 Zhōngshānjiē. The same way tribute is payed to Chiang Kai-shek (蔣中正 Jiăng Zhōngzhēng) 中正路 Zhōngzhēnglù, Chiang's opposition Lin Sen (林森 Lín Sēn) 林森路 Línsēnlù. But Chiang's son Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國 Jiăng Jīngguó) was less lucky: 經國路 Jīngguólù is only in two cities.
The political sound is also in names such as 民權路 Mínquánlù Democracy Road or 建國路 Jiànguólù State-Founding Road.
There also exists the tradition to call the streets after the objects of continental China: 南京東路 NánjīngDōnglù East Nanking Road, 漢口街 Hànkŏujiē Hankou Street.
In the recently developed areas there's often one name used for a group of streets which are distinguished only by numbers. For example, 府前三街 Fǔqiánsānjiē 3rd City Hall Street, with two other City Hall Streets in neighborhood.
First published in Russian in the author's blog: http://dmitry_a.livejournal.com/.
© Dmitry Alemasov
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