The view was fantastic. A few of the city attractions were conveniently situated in the Xinyi District neighborhood. I spotted where I was headed for the day.
First on the list was the National Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, a couple of blocks from the hotel.
The name sounded familiar. Retracing my day one tour of the city, Sun was on the huge painting greeting visitors at the ground floor exhibit hall of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. It was painting of Chiang and Sun on board the train from Guangzhou to Shaogun in preparation for the Northern Expedition.
The Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall is situated within Zhongshan Park (the most well-known and popular Chinese name for Dr. Sun is Sun Zhongshan). Gardens, decorative historical walls, and an exhibition and performance area surrounding Lake Cui, or Emerald Pond, make up the 28.4-acre park.
Across it, another Taipei attraction was rising- the Taipei Dome Complex. It’s something to look forward to check out on the next trip to the city.
The dome, a modern ovate edifice constructed in steel, provides a stark contrast to the 70’s building of the National Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, which highlights Chinese architectural details as instructed by President Chiang Kai-shek to architect Wang Ta-hung, whose design was selected among the other contest entries.
It was the Taiwan government that initiated the construction of the memorial in 1964 to pay tribute to the Republic of China’s National Father. The following year, President Chiang Kai-shek officiated the groundbreaking ceremony.
In 1972, the 29,464 square-meter memorial building was completed with Sun Yat-sen’s statue dominating the entrance hall. It’s in this hall that the hourly formal changing of the guards transpires, another tourist attraction, and where Chiang’s funeral was held in 1975.
Within the building are exhibit halls that display materials about Sun’s life and the Xinhai Revolution, a library, performance and lecture halls, a multimedia theatre and an audio-visual center.
More than an educational center (the Memorial Hall became part of the Ministry of Education in 1986), it also opened its doors to social and cultural events like the annual Golden Horse Film Festival and Awards, Taiwan’s highest movie award ceremony.
To get there: Nearest MRT station is the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall.
Also published in the SunStar Davao newspaper.