In the middle of Taipei is a mind boggling memorial that’ll make you feel the size of an ant. The democratic nation of Taiwan has a complicated history that continues to shape the action of today. On this episode we’ll take a look at this Taipei’s Enormous Dictator Memorial.
The National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall was built in memory of Chiang Kai-shek, former President of the Republic of China. This landmark, located in the Zhongzheng District of Taipei, Taiwan will leave in you awe as your eyes first take in the sight. The building and ground space this national monument occupies is enormous. Upon entering through the main gate, immediately to your left and right are two massive buildings. The National Theater and National Concert Hall are the huge orange roofed buildings with the memorial hall being the taller white building with a blue roof at the end of a long walkway.
The site sprawls across 59 acres or 240,000 square meters of land. The memorial hall itself is 76 meters or 249 feet tall with that construction starting in 1976 and completing in 1980. The two sets of white stairs leading up to the building’s opening have exactly 89 steps which represent Chiang Kai-shek’s age when he passed. The doors to the memorial hall are outrageous to say the least, these doors are 52 feet or 16 meters tall as weigh as much as 11 african elephants.
Inside the main chamber honour guards stand fixed in position for 1 hour at a time before switching with another guard. A ceremony has the multiple honour guards walking rigidly, spinning their guns among other things as they hand off the position in the hall. There is also a second entrance into the Memorial Hall at ground level that has some of Chiang’s possessions on display like a calligraphy, uniforms and 2 bulletproof cadillacs. I guess that was his car of choice. If that isn’t enough action for you there is a flag lowering ceremony at 5:00pm every day.
While you might think this landmark is in the outskirts of town, it’s actually smack dab right in the middle of town. It’s a relaxing place to get away from the busy streets of Taipei, with that said you won’t be the only one there though, there are plenty of tourists scurrying around.
The park surrounding The National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall was renamed in 2007 to Liberty Park in honour of Taiwan’s transfer to becoming a democratic nation. Chiang Kai-shek was a leader of the Republic of China and an influential member of the KMT or Kuomintang which makes it so ironic that the main entrance, called Liberty Gate, leads to the communist leader’s memorial. Debate continues off and on whether the dictator’s bronze statue and merchandise sold should be removed from the site and the memorial’s name be changed completely.
If you want to learn more about the Kuomintang I talk more about their actions in Taiwan in one of our other videos “The Most Beautiful Subway Station”. So be sure to check that out.
Whether you care about the history of this place or not, if you are ever in Taipei, you really need to stop off to see this place. The sheer scale of the building is beyond impressive. So along with the long stroll between buildings, ceremonies and selfies, there are immaculate gardens with ponds on either sides of the path. These ponds are home to turtles, carp, frogs and kingfisher. So there is plenty to see here.
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Intro music thanks to Machinmasound:
Rallying the Defense:
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