After filling our bellies with rich beef noodle soup, we headed over to see two famous monuments in Taipei; the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial, and the National Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial.
I knew very little about each historical figure before going, so I’ll share some things I learned about Chiang Kai-shek and Sun Yat-sen, courtesy of Google.
Chiang Kai-shek (1887 – 1975):
- A Chinese military and political leader
- Leader of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) for five decades
- When he was 18, he attended a military college in Japan, and returned to China to be a part of the overthrow of the Qing Dynasty. He became a member of the KMT at this time.
- After a civil war broke out, he and other KMT members fled to the island of Taiwan. Here, Chiang formed his own government, and was the primary leader for 25 years.
(Information found HERE)
Sun Yat-sen (1866 – 1925):
- The founder of the Chinese Republic, and called the “Father of Modern China”
- He originally studied medicine, and then turned his focus to politics to help overthrow the Chinese monarchy.
- Known for creating the political philosophy called the Three Principles of the People (Nationalism, Democracy and Socialism)
Our time at the Monuments:
Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial:
The first monument that we visited was the Chiang Kai-shek memorial. This memorial is at the east end of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Park, and is surrounded by Freedom/Liberty Square, the National Theater, the National Concert Hall, and is also close by to the Presidential Office Building.
The memorial stands at 76 meters, and is hard to miss with its striking white walls and bright blue roof. Almost everything about the building has some sort of meaning; its octagonal shape represents the belief that the number 8 is associated with wealth and good fortune, and its set of 89 steps represents the age that Chiang Kai-shek was when he died.
We walked up the 89 steps, turned back to see a beautiful view of the square, and then entered into the main hall, which houses an impressive statue of this Chinese leader. It reminded me a lot of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., with high ceilings and the addition of two stone-faced guards.
During open hours, visitors can marvel at the statue, learn more about Chiang Kai-shek at the museum, and see the changing of the guards at different times throughout the day. The museum was really interesting, and had a lot of cool/old paraphernalia from Chiang Kai-shek was in power.
Sun Yat-Sen Memorial:
This was one of our last stops on Day 8 of our time in Taiwan. We had spent a long day exploring, and after checking into our Airbnb, the last thing I wanted to do was to see another monument of another person I knew nothing about. But as always, I’m glad we mustered enough energy to go back out.
The Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall is located in Xinyi District, and is close to Taipei 101 and Zhongshan Park. Inside the memorial hall is a statue of Sun Yat-Sen, an exhibition center, a performance hall, and a library that houses over 300,000 books.
I wasn’t prepared to like this memorial as much as I did, but I was really impressed with the size of the memorial, and the way that it presented the life and history of Dr. Sun. I liked the openness of the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial, but because this was completely indoors, I felt like it was more intimate and personal. The building itself was also beautiful, and had an amazing view of Taipei 101.
Which One Was Better?
Even though I say in our vlog (see below) that I enjoyed the Sun Yat-sen memorial more, that was the side of me that was just over being outside and in the hot weather. Believe it or not, Taiwan is still really warm in December!
As I wrote this, I realized that the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial was not only more impressive, but the museum was better and more interesting. However, both memorials were well executed, so we would recommend visiting both.
Check out our video of the memorials!
Want to Visit?
Hours: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Price: Free Admission
Hours: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Price: Free to enter, but you do need to purchase tickets for the performances.