Friday, January 07, 2011

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Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, Taipei

1/07/2011 Taiwan Explorer

National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall 國立中正紀念堂 (pronounced Guólì Zhōngzhèng Jìniàntáng) is one of the biggest and most known landmark buildings in Taipei. It's a monumental hall, designed by the famous Taiwanese architect Yang Cho-cheng 楊卓成, who also designed the Grand Hotel and the nearby National Theater and National Concert Hall of the Republic of China. The construction of the massive 79m tall hall in traditional Chinese architecture begun in 1976 and was completed in 1980. It opened exactly five years after former president Chiang Kai-shek 蔣介石 died. It's located at Taipei's biggest public square named Liberty square 自由廣場 in Zhongzheng.

A detail from the roof exposes small decorative animals.

The building is a combination of white and blue, which symbolizes freedom and equality. The octagonal roof is covered with glazed tiles in order to reflect the sunlight. The tip on the roof is gold and directed to the sky, symbolizing the connection between heaven and earth. Although the structure was build in a modern way, it wants to show the strength and the spirit of the Chinese culture (info source).

The roof resembles the one of the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall in Guangzhou.

If you ask me what I think about the building, I'm not really sure. The architecture is of course stunning and a true masterpiece, so is the whole square, but these landmarks are completely foreign to the older neighborhoods, that surround them. Liberty square is perhaps one of the most beautifully designed public squares in all of East Asia, but it's trying to turn Taipei into Beijing, something that's just never going to happen. Taipei's character just doesn't seem fitting, the city is merely 3 centuries old and was never meant to be the center of an empire.

These are my best photos of Chiang Kai-shek's Memorial Hall:

Umbrellas are needed when the weather is nice.

89 stairs lead up to the entrance of the hall, marking the 89 years of Chiang Kai-shek's life.

The closer you come to the top, the bigger the building looks like.

The 19m tall main entrance, truly epic proportions.

The arch on top of the entrance is huge.

Former president Chiang Kai-shek, president of the Republic of China from 1948 to 1975.

A soldier has to stand here for 1 hour without moving.

The ceiling inside the main hall. The sun on top is also found on the flag of the Republic of China.

Right below the hall there is an exhibition of Chiang Kai-shek's life.

Finding the Memorial Hall is very easy. Use the Taipei Metro and go to Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall MRT Station Exit 5 and you are there (check this map).

[My TAIWAN page][My TAIPEI page][All photos by MKL, 2010]