Monday, July 26, 2010

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Dongmen: East Gate of Taipei

7/26/2010 Taiwan Explorer

The East Gate of Taipei (台北府城東門 pronounced "Táiběi Fǔchéng Dōngmén", lit. "Taipei Prefecture Capital East Gate") or also known as the Jingfu Gate (景福門 pronounced "Jǐngfúmén" lit. "Gate of the view of good fortune") or simply Dongmen (東門) was built in 1879. The gate is located in Zhongzheng district facing the Presidential Office Building of Taiwan and very close to Liberty square, located in a middle of a roundabout at the intersection of Ketagalan boulevard and Zhongshan South Road.

1 Names overview

台北府城小東門 - Taipei Prefecture Capital East Gate
景福門 - Gate of the View of Good Fortune
東門 - East Gate

2 Map of the gate

This gate has the most prominent location in today's Taipei (view larger map).

3 My impression of the gate

This is the first gate I saw, when I headed to the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, one of the most famous sights of Taipei. I must say I totally neglected this gate and only took few photos (see below) and then moved on to see the memorial hall. I'm surely gonna take more photos next time and add them here. This gate looks nice on the outside and it's very well preserved, but unfortunately it was heavily modified, same as the South Gate and partly the Little South Gate. In 1966 the Kuomintang's government (the Chinese Nationalist party that ruled Taiwan from 1948-2000) decided to change the shape of the gate in order to "improve Taipei and make it more attractive to tourists" ("整頓市容以符合觀光需要"). Same as with the South Gate and Little South Gate, they changed the gate into northern Chinese style and even added the emblem of their party (blue sky with a white sun). It was painted over with white color in 2009 during a renovation after the Council of the Cultural Affairs of Taiwan approved it.

4 My day photos of the gate

The top part was modified by the KMT in 1966.

The famous Shin Kong Life Tower is seen at the backside.

The Ketagalan boulevard and the Presidential palace on the right.

The gate is located in the middle of a roundabout.

It's protected by a fence.

The building behind are the former headquarters of the Kuomintang.

5 Historic image of the gate

The East gate in 1966 before the modification. A big difference, isn't it?

I must say I'm very disappointed, that this gate was so heavily modified. It's really a pity, because the original was so beautiful. I'd love to see it restored in its original shape (same as what they do in Seoul), but given the complicated political situation in Taiwan and especially in Taipei, I don't see that happen any time in the near future. And my girlfriend said that Taiwanese don't really think about these gates as much. I think they should. I wish they did. Maybe a new generation will.

Location: Go to CKS Memorial Hall station and walk Northwards (link).

Related: [My GATES OF TAIPEI overview][Info][Taipei]
[All photos except the last by MKL, 2010]

▷ BLOG NAVIGATION: Taiwan>> Taipei Travel Page>> Zhongzheng District>> Dongmen