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Taiwan Is Debating How To Transform Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall To Cope With The Legacy Of Martial Law

Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall  is one of Taipei 's most recognizable landmarks. The giant white structure with the blue roof was built in 1980  to commemorate Chiang Kai-shek , the dictator who had ruled the Republic of China (ROC) from 1927 to 1949 in mainland China, and - after losing the Chinese Civil War to Mao Zedong's Communists - from 1949 to 1975 on Taiwan.  Chiang Kai-shek's son, Chiang Ching-kuo , succeeded his father as the leader of the ROC on Taiwan and had the huge memorial hall built in Ming Dynasty palace style, which echoed the architecture of Chinese imperial mausoleums. Until the late 1980s, when Taiwan was still a dictatorship dominated by the Guomindang (Chinese Nationalist Party), it was dangerous to even question the official hagiography of Chiang Kai-shek. That began to change with the democratization of Taiwan. People could finally openly discuss the dark side of Chiang's rule. Chiang Kai-s

Four-Faced Buddha Shrine on Yongkang Street, Taiwan (永康四面佛)

One day I was taking one of my long walks from Taipei 101 to Xindian District, when I stumbled upon a Buddhist shrine. It was one of the smallest and strangest shrines I'd ever seen.  Usually Buddhist shrines are situated inside buildings that are often constructed in a traditional Chinese style. But this one was different. It was inside a narrow cubicle-like room. There was music playing and the shiny yellow Buddha statue continuously rotated.  The shrine, which is located on Yongkang Street, near the bustling Dongmen night market, is called Yongkang Four-Faced Buddha (永康四面佛). A plaque inside the shrine informs you that if you want to "prayer [sic!] or redeem a vow to the Buddha" you can buy a flower bouquet that costs NTD200 (about US$6.50).  Another plaque explains why the Buddha is called "four-faced". Each face represents four aspects of human life: 1) career success and fame; 2) marriage and romantic relationships

Taipei Walking Tours - A Guide To Taipei In 6 Days

Taiwan is one of the most underrated tourist destinations in Asia. With about 10.74 million tourists in 2017, it lags behind Asian neighbours like Thailand (35 million), Hong Kong (58 million), Japan (28.7 million), or  Indonesia (14 million). Nevertheless, Taiwan is a great place to visit due to its amazing food , fascinating history, traditional Chinese culture , friendly atmosphere, safety, and natural attractions. Moreover, Taiwan has a very convenient visa policy. Citizens of many countries, including the United States and most European Union members, can travel to Taiwan without a visa and stay there for up to 90 days. You can literally buy a plane ticket and go to Taiwan without doing any paperwork.     If you travel to Taiwan, your first destination will probably be the capital and largest city: Taipei. Taipei is the political and economic centre of the island, with lots of attractions ranging from modern skyscrapers and shopping centres to ni

Old Decayed Japanese Houses In Taipei

A few years ago I wrote about old houses from the Japanese colonial era  (1895-1945) in Taipei . As a map from 1935 shows , Japanese Taipei was quite small compared to the present-day metropolis.  When British author Owen Rutter visited the island in the early 1920s, Taipei had only about 170,000 inhabitants. In 1945, the population had grown to slightly more than 270,000.   By 2016, however, Taipei City had a population of 2.7 million, while the greater metropolitan area had around 7 million people. Obviously, during the Japanese colonial era districts that are now highly urbanized were little more than countryside.  #Vintage #map (1935) of #Taipei in #Taiwan when is was still under Japanese rule. Source: https://t.co/KLcdSe17tc pic.twitter.com/uN6sXPMujs — Simon Kuestenmacher (@simongerman600) October 12, 2017 It is very difficult to reconstruct the urban structure of the residential suburbs in colonial Taipei. Not much remains from that era. As I h