Monday, September 9, 2019

Taipei, Taiwan

Taipei台北is located in northern Taiwan and is the capital.  Officially it is Taipei City and it was was first settled in 1709.  Taipei has a population of +2,65 million people while the greater metro area is home to more than 7 million people.

The area had been inhabited by aborigines until the early 18th century when Han Chinese immigrants began arriving.  The Qing Dynasty made Taipei-fu the provincial capital in 1894.  When Japan annexed all of Taiwan in 1895 the city was renamed Taihoku.  The Japanese embarked on an extensive urban planning programme and a railroad network that laid the groundwork for the city today.

In 1949, Taipei was declared the provisional capital of the Republic of China when Chiang Kai-shek and the Kuomintang fled mainland China at the end of the Chinese Civil War.  Today Taipei is Taiwan's business and financial Bub and the city is a global player in technology and electronics.

The city's landmark is Taipei 101 which was formerly known as the Taipei World Financial Centre.  The skyscraper is 101 floors and is 508 metres (1,667 feet) tall.  From 2004 to 2010 it was the world's tallest building.  Now it number 11.

However, it has next level energy efficiency and recycling making it the world's tallest green building.  The skyscraper is designed to withstand earthquakes and typhoon winds of 216 km/h (134 mph).

The North Gate was built in 1884 as part of the Taipei City Wall.  It was originally built following an attempted Japanese invasion.  It was renovated in 2017.

Lungshan Temple was built in 1738 by Chinese immigrants from Fujian during the Qing Dynasty.  The Buddhist temple has alters for several Chinese deities.

The Fa Zhu Gong Temple was built in 1869.  The temple's main god is believed to have once protected the local immigrant population from a terrible disease.  The current location was completed in 1988.

The 228 Peace Memorial Park was originally established in 1900 as Taihoku New Park.  It was the first European-style urban park in Taiwan.  In 1947, Taiwanese protestors took over the radio station that was here to protest the brutal police action of the Kuomintang (Chinese Nationalist) government.  From February 28, 1947, an estimated 5 000 to 28 000 Taiwanese died and began what was known as the White Terror where tens of thousands of other Taiwanese were killed, imprisoned or went missing.  In 1998 the former radio station became the the 228 Memorial Museum and the park was renamed.

Liberty Square was completed in the late 1970s.  The plaza is huge at more than 240,000 square meters (59 acres).

It was a gathering place in the 1990s when Taiwan transitioned from one-party rule by the Kuomintang to a modern democracy.

At the east end of the square is the National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall.  The hall dedicated to the former president was completed in 1980.

National Theatre

Liberty Square is also home to two performing arts halls that were both completed in 1987.

National Concert Hall

These were two of Asia's first major modern performing arts facilities.

The Presidential Office Building was completed in 1919.  It was originally used by the Governor-General of Taiwan during the Japanese Colonisation.  The building was restored in 1950 and became the Presidential Office.

The Xiao Hai City God Temple was built in 1859.  It is only 152 square metres (1,615 square feet) but it is home to more than 600 deities.  I believe this is a popular temple to pray to the Chinese cupid for a mate.

The Ximen Red House was originally built as a public market.  There are lots of trendy local shops and bars that are popular amongst the city's LGBTQ community.

The Republic of China Armed Forces Museum opened in 1961.  Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to go in because for some reason it's closed 10.8. - 18.10.2019.

The Taipei Dome is a multi-purpose stadium that is still under construction.  It will be primarily used for baseball but will include a shopping mall, movie theatre, a hotel and office space.  Originally construction was to begin in 2007 and be completed by 2011.  Work didn't begin until 2011 and the city ordered a halt in 2015.  There is still no date on when it will be completed.

The National Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall was completed in 1972.  The museum covering his life is really interesting.

Every hour there is changing of the guards

Xiangshang is "Elephant Mountain" is worth a visit.  It is 183 metres (600 feet) tall with a few walking trails.  A hike up to the top provides a nice view of the city and of course another photo of Taipei 101.

The night markets are awesome.  I like the local markets but the Shilin Night Market is one of the largest and most famous.  Lots of shopping around but the food is the best part.

Scallion pancakes

The food court has over 500 different stalls and they stay open past midnight.
Oyster omelette 

Bubble Tea was invented in Taiwan.  My favourite is the brown sugar bubble tea.  Oh so good!

Soup Dumplings

All of the food in Taipei is just simply incredible.  I even did a food walking tour so that I didn't miss out on anything.

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