Thursday, March 31, 2011

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Lin Family Garden and Mansion, Banqiao

3/31/2011 Taiwan Explorer

Lin Family Garden and Mansion 林本源園邸 (pronounced Lín běn üén üén dǐ, literally Benyuen Lin's garden and residence) is today the best preserved private garden and residence from the Qing dynasty in Taiwan. It was built in 1847, destroyed during the time, when Taiwan became part of ROC and between 1982 and 1986 the whole complex was thoughtfully restored. The mansion is located in Banqiao (now part of Greater Taipei) close to the Fuzhong MRT Station. In case you decide to visit, read more about that here.

I went to the Lin Family Residence with my Taiwanese friend Billy, who helped guiding me. As for this year, visiting of the garden and mansion is admission free (maybe because it's 100 years of ROC?). In the big garden, you can walk around on yourself, but the residence itself is closed and every full hour a guided tour (in Chinese and Japanese) is offered. I was the only foreigner that day and they worried whether I would understand. But Billy was translating for me a little and I could get an idea of the history behind the house. Taking photos inside the house wasn't allowed, but outside was ok. So If you decide to visit, please respect the rules. This is still a private house and garden and they don't charge visitors, which is really nice of them.

The garden and mansion are true gems. I only wish I had a better light that day, but it was grey and cold and I couldn't take good photos. I'm sure on a sunny day one could make amazing photos in this area, which is like stuck in the 19th century. All around are more or less ugly post World War Residential buildings, which makes the impression even stronger. In case you visit Taipei for a week or more, I definitely recommend you to visit this historic site.

See my photos from February 25th, 2011:

This is the garden part with a lovely pond.

Another view.

The Guan-jia hall, today a souvenir shop.

This looked like a secret passage, very narrow.

A penzai.

And this is the residence. We were only allowed to take photos from outside.

A motif from the roof. Very detailed.

For those of you, who want to get an even better idea of the mansion, check a video made by a Taiwanese visitor:

To find the mansion, go to Fuzhong MRT Station, then go out at Exit 1, turn right, walk a little, then turn left and you'll be on a wider road named Fuzhong Road. Walk straight for about 15min (you'll pass a temple) and then at the intersection with Ximen Road, turn right (on your left will be another temple). Once on Ximen Road, walk straight (the road leans towards the right) for 5 mins and you're there. Here is a Google Map for your reference.

Related: [Li Family Residence in Luzhou][Photo by MKL, 2010]