Friday, December 07, 2012

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Land Bank of Taiwan, Taipei

12/07/2012 Taiwan Explorer

The Old wing of the Land Bank of Taiwan 臺灣土地銀行 is one of those timeless old buildings in Taipei's Zhongzheng District, that will always draw attention. The Greek neoclassical structure used to be the Taipei branch of the Japanese Kangyo Bank 日本勸業銀行, it was built in 1933. The building is today surrounded by low quality architecture, that has infested northern Zhongzheng and is therefore hard to miss. Part of the building is used as a museum and managed by the nearby National Taiwan Museum. I decided to go on a short walk to have a closer look on the structure and its architectural elements as well as check what the museum has to offer. The old photo above shows the building as it used to be during the Japanese times in 1930s. It has still retained its past glory today.

These are my photos of the former Kangyo Bank in Taipei from July 2012:

This is the building from afar.

The famous corner lays at an intersection.

I love the ornamentation.

The huge ceiling is impressive.

Beautifully laid out.

It's a pleasure to walk along these columns.

The Land Bank Museum

The beautiful neo-Greek building of the Land Bank has recently been turned into a very interesting museum, that offers several exhibitions related to the origin and the architecture of the bank as well as to the development of financial institutions in Taiwan from past to present (source). There are several items displayed from a century ago, from old money, keys, utensils to documents of that time, many of them in Japanese. Visitors walk through an old vault, which is very narrow and full of small aisles - it's definitely a unique experience and very well implemented. In addition to the vault, there is another bigger hall, that currently features an exhibition on dinosaurs. It's very educational and suitable for kids of all ages. Right next to the big hall (on the upper floor) is a small cafe, where you can eat, drink and take a break.

Let me show you all that below, photos are from January 2013:

Photo on the wall displays the former Kangyo Bank buildings.

This is inside the vault, items are exhibited on the right.

I went up to the 1st floor, there is more to see.

An old 100 NTD bank note was displayed.

Afterwards I went to the big hall and checked out the dinosaur exhibition.

The hall is divided in two floors, this one is the upper.

On the other side is a small cafe.

I went out to the wooden terrace to get some air.

The whole meal with chicken, rice, salad, coffee and tea cost 270 NTD and was tasty.

The entrance fee for the museum is 20 NTD per person. If you purchase tickets at the National Taiwan Museum, you can use them for visiting the Land Bank Museum as well. In the future there is a plan to connect the Land Bank of Taiwan and the nearby Mitsui & Co., Old Building 三井物產株式會社舊廈 with the National Taiwan Museum via an underpass to offer a broader museum experience (source).

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