Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall

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21 Zhongshan S. Road, Taipei, Taiwan

Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall Taipei Reviews

davejo davejo
270 reviews
Taiwan's top attraction Feb 07, 2017
Rightly so, this title belongs to the incredible building which is Chiang Kai Shek memorial Hall which stands at the east end of Liberty park. The blue octagonal roof stands on top of the square white building with two sets of 89 steps leading to the main entrance . Other reports say that there are only 88 steps. These numbers are not by chance as the octagonal roof symbolises the number 8 which is associated with good fortune and abundance in Asia. The 89 steps symbolises the age when Chiang died. Inside the building is a huge statue of the great leader himself, while the ground floor houses a library and museum which details the life of Chiang along with Taiwan's history and development. For me this was the highlight of the city and i could easily have spent half a day there, but i made do with just an hour as there were so many things to see in Liberty Park.

INSIDE THE MEMORIAL HALL

Once you climb the 89 steps you will enter the memorial hall and only then the immensity of the building will hit you. The ceiling is high, probably more than 20 meters and a giant Chiang Kai Shek sitting on his chair greets every visitor. The flag of Taiwan stands on each side of the statue while two guards stand motionless in a cordoned off area. Many visitors are busy taking and posing for photographs in front of the statue and others gaze up at the beautiful ceiling in wonderment. There are inscriptions on the walls and below his statue and i wish i could have read them.

However i have found out with the help of googling that the inscription above the seated Chiang are the Chinese characters for Ethics, Democracy and Science. These three words are the essence of the Three Principles of the People, also the essence of Chiang's political thinking. The inscriptions on the side read "The purpose of life is to improve the general life of humanity" and "The meaning of life is to create and sustain subsequent lives in the universe".

CHANGING OF THE GUARDS

In a cordoned off area in front of the seated statue of Chiang Kai Shek stands two Honor guards. At first i thought they were statues so i went over to take a closer inspection and true enough they were two uniformed guards who stood motionless, each with their eyes at an angle as they focused on the great leaded. It is not like London when you can make fun of the guards and try make them smile, as i daresay you would be arrested here. The two guards stand at attention with their rifle in their hands for an hour at a time, and then there is the ceremony of the Changing of the Guards. The guards are changed at the top of the hour between 10 am and 4 pm, (Wednesdays up to 6 pm). The two new guards arrive by elevator at the back of the hall, then the synchronised change is made as one moves his left leg, the other will move his right leg in unison. They will twirl their guns, stamp their feet and salute one another, then the new guards will start their shift.

Can you imagine standing motionless for 60 minutes, ignoring comments made by visitors, the fly landing on your nose, unable to sneeze or have a good fart. I take my hat off to thee guys as they have stamina and determination. Well done !

CONSTRUCTION OF THE MEMORIAL

At the side of the Memorial hall is a small museum which explains the history of the memorial and how it was constructed. I found this to be very interesting, specially the old photos. The site for the project was originally occupied by the army headquarters, and is sometimes normal back then a competition was held to select the best design for the monument. Outstanding architect Yang Cho-Cheng was the winner and Chen Yi_fan was contracted to make the sculpture of Chiang Kai Shek. Contributions cam from the government and all quarters of the society, construction began in 1976 and completed swiftly by 1980.

THE MUSEUM

No visit to the memorial is completed without a visit to the Exhibition Hall of Historical Relics of Chiang Kai Shek on the first floor. ( wow , what a mouthful, why can't they call it Chiang's museum !) .The collection is displayed in several diferent rooms and arrows on the floor point you in the direction that visitors should follow. there are paintings of Chiang's important events and many more memorabilia. In one of the halls there is a large painting of Chiang with Sun Yat-Sen on a train on the way to from Guangzhou to Shaoguan in preperation fir the Northern Expedition.

For me the most impressive displays were of the transport used by Chiang Kai Shek that were to be seen in the Exhibition Hall.

His 1972 Cadillac, a four door, seven seater limousine, 6.32 m long, 2.04 meters wide and 1.50 m high, weighing more than two tons. This was his official state car used from '72-'75.

There was a sedan chair which was used to carry Chiang when he inspected military bases in the region of Tiawu Mountain near Kinmen

He had 1955 GM Cadillac that was donated to him by the Chinese community from the Philippines, also a four door , seven seater limousine, 6.10 m long, 2 m wide, and 1.63 m high that weighed over 3 tons. It was fitted with bulletproof glass and had other security measures. The Philippine Chinese community must have been disappointed as Chiang only used the car on one occasion.

CHEER FOR CHIANG

Before leaving the memorial you should visit Cheer For Chiang, the souvenir shop on the first floor where you can buy key-rings, mugs, magnets, models of the memorial, t-shirts and much more. I purchased three fridge magnets here at a reasonable price. Most fridge magnets in the country cost between 60 and 120 NT$.

TAKE A LOOK AT THE DOORS ON THE WAY OUT

he last thing i observed at Chiang Kai Shek memorial hall were the huge wooden doors when i left. I have no idea what type of wood it was but the doors must have been 4-5 inches thick with bronze door knockers in the shape of a lion. Each of the doors had over 100 bronze metal studs in them and they looked pretty impregnable to m
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starship1 says:
Sounds like a really interesting place to visit! Good review!
Posted on: Feb 07, 2017
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cynthiasmiller cynthias…
62 reviews
Impressive, free, and kills some time Jul 29, 2013
I must admit, I really only visited the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial because I needed something free to do that would kill a couple hours. BUT, it was a pleasant surprise, and not at all what I expected. First of all, the buildings are huge and the distances between them are even larger, reminding you just how small you really are (and just how hot the sun can get). The memorial itself is a beautiful blue and white building largely incongruous with the more traditional architecture and the modern buildings that surround it. If you go up the stairs (not as strenuous as it looks) you can see a statue of him on the inside reminiscent of the Lincoln Memorial. At the top, you'll also be afforded a pretty awesome view. Inside the building (go down the stairs, turn right, enter in the side) you'll find a gift shop and some art exhibits which are also free and worth the visit. When you're done, you can go sit on a bench in the eco park behind the memorial.
Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial
View from the top of the stairs
View from the bottom
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