Monday, October 22, 2012

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Taipei Botanical Garden

10/22/2012 Taiwan Explorer

The Taipei Botanical Garden 台北植物園 is one of my favorite parks in the city. Located a good 5 min of walk from the Xiaonanmen MRT Station, it can be the perfect getaway for the locals as well as foreign tourists. The current park was established in 1921 during the Japanese occupation, but the origins date back to the year 1896 (source). What I like about this botanical garden is the fact, that you have so much shade from the scorching sun and so many beautiful spots to choose from. If you're into discovering interesting species of plants and animals, you are at the right place. There is a huge lotus pond, that always attracts a lot of colorful birds. Besides the natural wonders, there are aplenty of historical buildings and academic institutions in the area, such as: Office of the Provincial Administration Commission (Yamen) 臺灣布政使司衙門, Botanical Garden Herbarium Museum 植物園臘葉館, National Museum of History 國立歷史博物館, Former National Education Science Center 原國立臺灣科學教育館, and the Chienkung Shrine 建功神社. I have visited the gardens in 2010 for the first time, and I have written about it here.

Let me share some photos from my weekend stroll in the Botanical Garden:

The main entrance.

Pine trees giving shadow.

Beautiful palm trees alley.

A look back.

A nice shadowy promenade.

The Greenhouse

Two westerners meticulously inspecting plants.

The beautiful greenhouse.

A lovely small pond.

I spotted a koi fish.

The Yamen

Office of the Provincial Administration Commission or simply Yamen.

Inside the yamen is a whole new world.

The Herbal Museum

The Visitior's Center on the left and the Herbal Museum on the right.

The pond from the other side.

Crossroads.

The Lotus pond

Boy meditating.

Lotus leaves - a closeup.

A small pavilion.

The way outside the garden, to Nanhai Academy.

Nice beak!

It was a hot humid summer day.

The lotus field - simply amazing.

The Lotus and its symbolism

One of the most compelling reasons to visit the Botanical Garden is the huge Lotus pond. Lotus was one of most popular flowers in ancient Chinese culture and is still very popular in contemporary Taiwan. Chinese medieval poet Zhou Dunyi 周敦實 from the 11th century wrote in his famous essay 愛蓮說: »予獨愛蓮之出淤泥而不染« This is today a very known quote and it translates as »I love the lotus because while growing from mud, it is unstained.« It is said, that the lotus is for Chinese and Taiwanese »a metaphor for honesty and a noble character, symbolic of maintaining one's purity even if immersed in an atmosphere of filth and corruption.« (source) The Chinese words for lotus are »蓮« (lién, also »蓮花« liénhuā, compare Hualien) and »荷« (, also »荷花« héhuā). The Lotus pond is located in the south west of the garden.


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Pinyin: Táipěi Zhíwù Yüén
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▷ NEARBY SITES

My Botanical Garden visit in 2010
Botanical Garden Herbarium Museum
List of Parks in Taipei

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