Saturday, September 01, 2012


Lin An Tai Ancestral House and Museum

9/01/2012 Taiwan Explorer

Lin An Tai Ancestral House and Museum 林安泰古厝 is one of those magnificent places inside Taipei City, which I discovered recently. It's amazing, that I haven't known about this treasure located in northern Zhongshan district before - if it wasn't for my wife, who told me about this old house, I would probably never discover it. We visited Lin An Tai on a hot Saturday morning and it was truly a great choice, because we took some amazing photos.

A brief History of Lin An Tai

In the year 1754 Lin Chin-Ming 林欽明, a native of Anxi County 安溪縣 in Fujian Province, decided to take his family with him to start a new life on the island of Taiwan. It was his fourth son, Lin Chin-Neng 林志能, who's business helped him to accumulate enough wealth, that he was able to construct this luxurious house for his family. He had a trading and shipping company named Rong Tai 榮泰行. He named the house Lin An Tai 林安泰 based on his family name Lin「林」, the initials for his native Anxi County「安」and a part of the name of his company「泰」. The main part of the building was completed in 1783, the side buildings were added 50 years later.

The near destruction of Lin An Tai

The original Lin Tai An house used to be located in Siwei Road 四維路 in today's Daan District, very close to Dunhua South Road 敦化南路. When the city government decided to widen the road, the house stood in the way and was designated for destruction. In 1978 scholars and experts petitioned for a preservation of the historic complex and eventually succeeded... well, somewhat. It was decided to destroy the house and rebuild it where it stands today, in northern Zhongshan district, close to Keelung river. The relocation project begun the same year: In June 1978 the house was demolished and the widening of the Dunhua South Road continued. It took a while before a new location for the Lin An Tai residence was found. They chose the northern part of Xinsheng Park 新生公園 in 1984, the relocation and reconstruction works commenced the same year and were ended in November 1985. The house was opened to public in 1987. In 2010 before the Flora Expo, a garden with the lotus pond and several pavilions were added and became part of the international exposition. Info Sources: Wikipedia, Lin An Tai Homepage, 文化‧資產‧八里坌

Let me show you my photos of Lin An Tai from August 2012:

The main entrance to the complex.

Beautiful Chinese calligraphy in the shape of golden characters.

This is what you see, when you enter.

The courtyard/garden is pretty big for the fact, that it's in Taipei.

The lovely crescent pond.

A side building close to a very interesting tree.

Wife posing infront of the building.

Beautiful brick wall is nicely visible from this angle.

The house has been very well taken care off as seen here.

This architectural particularity is called swallowtail 燕尾 and is a Chinese tradition.

A smaller courtyard inside.

A nice cool passage.

We decided to walk further to the back of the house.

An old stone grinder. My wife says it was used for grinding soybeans.

The newly added park attracted us.

There are two wells close to the house, this is one of them.

A house-like pavilion.

The Sueh Yueh Hall is the second biggest building in the area.

Wife taking photos of the beautiful lotus pond.

Another shot of the lovely lotus pond.

This pavilion is called Tea lovers' house.

We decided to check the Sueh Yueh Hall's interior.

We saw something, that looked like a small class room.

A passage.

Another pavilion, where we took a rest.

The Yu Dai bridge.

An artificial rock formation with waterfall and pavilion.

Another angle on the garden.

Read more about the architecture of the Lin An Tai house here>>

After resting in another pavilion, we headed back along this creek.

We saw a beauty posing for passionate photographers.

We have soon left the house and continued to Xinsheng park.

Beautiful traditional Chinese architecture

I have to say, if I had to pick a favorite period among the historic architectural styles in Taiwan, I would've definitely picked the Qing dynasty era. These types of traditional Chinese residential houses are called siheyuan 四合院 (pronounced sìhéüèn, lit. "four [houses] [en]closing the courtyard"). They look simplistic from afar, but incorporate so many details, superstitions, religious and philosophical references and feng shui, that it's sometimes too overwhelming to comprehend all that. The core of the Lin An Tai house is a siheyuan, the extensions are a Fujianese particularity. The best part about this houses is its smart design and layout: When you enter such a house on a hot and sunny day, you quickly realize how cool it is inside - without any air conditioning. The walls, the roofs, the passages and the windows are so intelligently laid out, that while the outside is hot and humid, the inside remains cool and breezy - a kind of natural ventilation system. I would not hesitate to live in such a house, but with a modern interior, please (and with ISP connection).

How to go there

To find Lin An Tai, take buses 285, 298 or 676. We took the red line in direction to Tamsui, went out at Yuanshan MRT Station Exit 1 (turn left) and walked westwards through various parks. It might take 20-30 min to reach there, if you walk slowly.

View Taiwan Map by Kafkaesque in a larger map

Map and useful information


Pinyin: Lín Ān Tài Gǔcuò
Related website: Homepage
My useful tips: Transportation in Taipei


Bopiliao Old Street
Li Family Abode, Luzhou
Lin Family House and Garden

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