Taiwan’s rich history can be traced from its founder and former President, Chiang Kai-shek. The Republic of China (ROC) has made Taiwan, formerly called Formosa or beautiful island to the Europeans, its seat of government when Chiang Kai-shek and his Kuomintang (Chinese Nationalists) moved to this territory after the Chinese Civil War. ROC now governs the island of Taiwan and its minor islands.
The gate opposite the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall.
I believe that my travels have come full circle. My first trip in China was in Guangzhou, where the Kuomintang was established by Sun Yat-sen, the first president and founding father of the Republic of China. He was a close ally of Chiang Kai-shek.
The view of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall Memorial Hall from the garden.
My next trip brought me to: Shanghai, where Sun Yat-sen was once exiled; Beijing, the seat of the People’s Republic of China wherein prior to Sun Yat-sen’s rule, the last emperor of China, Puyi, and the Chinese Communist Party of Mao Zedong held office; and Xi’an, home of the terracotta army of Emperor Qin Shi Huang, who united China.
People converge at the CKS Square.
Finally, I have arrived in Taiwan and its history, which traces its roots in China, made me recall my travels in the mainland. The Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall is a testament of how the Taiwanese revere their great leader.
The National Theater.
The CKS Memorial Hall is not difficult to find and is easily accessible via MRT. Just take the red or the green line and get off at the CKS Memorial Hall station. Right at the exit, you will find the National Theater visible from the street. It is the southern part of the CKS Square. Across it is the National Concert Hall. Farther in the east is the CKS Memorial Hall.
The CKS Square with the National Theater at the left and the National Concert Hall at the right.
As we walked from the square towards the CKS Memorial Hall, I could make out the silhouette of a giant figure seated on a chair, providing me a similar vision of the Lincoln Memorial. I had to climb several steps to get to the main hall where the large bronze statue of Chiang Kai-shek could be found. We were just in time for the changing of the guards as people piled up in the entire entrance of the hall. After the ceremony, my friends and I had the opportunity to view the statue closer.
Chiang Kai-shek’s monument.
Behind Chiang Kai-shek were the Chinese characters of Ethics, Democracy and Science etched on the wall. The ceiling reveal an intricate work of art with the sun, as shown in its national flag, visible at the center of the dome.
The sun beneath the dome.
Two doors were seen on either side of the hall. We entered one and found a room displaying various memorabilia of the late Chiang Kai-shek. We found a flight of stairs and descended on each floor until we reached the ground area. There we passed by two women doing calligraphy and painting. A younger lady told us to get a bookmark for free. We asked her the meaning of the inscriptions and when she interpreted each quote in the bookmarks we chose, this piqued our interest even more.
With volunteers of the Tzu Chi Foundation at the Jing Si Books & Cafe.
It was the Jing Si Books and Café, run by the Tzu Chi Foundation. I have first encountered this foundation when I volunteered in Tacloban, Leyte after typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) where they distributed cash and goods to typhoon survivors. She also gave us magazines and we also bought books of inspirational sayings at the bookstore.
The ground floor, which also has exhibition rooms, also has an information center, souvenir shop, restaurants and other amenities.
The door led us to the park where we walked under a row of trees with birds resting on their branches. Locals were having picnics. Some were strolling with their dogs. We found a pond with a bridge and decided to take some snapshots there. As the sun was starting its descent, more and more people fill the square and the parks surrounding the Memorial Hall. It was good to walk down history lane and know of the people who helped shape this nation.
No.21, Zhongshan S.Rd., Zhongzheng Dist.
Taipei City 10048, Taiwan (R.O.C)
For more photos of our visit in the CKS Memorial Hall, check out my Facebook album.
Looking up to the majestic Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall.