Have Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall on your Taipei itinerary?
In this article, you will learn everything about it.
Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall is a monument in Taipei built to commemorate Chiang Kai-shek, former President of the Republic of China.
Today, travelers come to the memorial hall to observe the giant statue of the former President as well as the guard mounting ceremony that takes place according to a schedule.
For some of the locals, the monument may serve as a reminder of how difficult times were during the period of martial law and “White Terror” that President Chiang imposed for almost forty years.
Today, the ample space around the hall and the surrounding parks make a good place to take a stroll or to exercise in the morning and evening.
They also visit the venue to watch various plays held at the National Concert Hall and National Theater, which are both within the compound of the memorial hall.
As the landmark holds significant historical value, knowing facts about it will make your visit more meaningful.
Keep reading, and we will present to you quick facts about the memorial hall, so you can have a better understanding about it before your visit.
Name in Local Language
Mandarin: 中正纪念堂 (zhōngzhèng jìniàn táng)
xx Facts About Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall
Fact #1: There are underlying meanings to Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall’s architectural elements.
The blue, octagonal roof of the memorial hall symbolizes the number eight, which is often associated to abundance, prosperity and good fortune by the Chinese.
The two flights of white granite stairs leading to the entrance of the main hall has 89 steps each, representing Chiang’s age when he passed away.
Fact #2: There is a museum under the main hall.
Most tourists come to the memorial hall to see the giant statue of Chiang Kai-shek and the mounting of guards.
However, if you take the stairs down from the main hall, you will find a library and exhibition hall documenting Chiang’s life, career as well as exhibits showcasing the history related to the Republic of China or Taiwan.
The exhibition hall categorizes its exhibits into the following categories:
Ascending to power
Wartime leader of China
From Mainland to Taiwan
Presidency in Taiwan
Gallery of President Chiang Kai-shek’s Office
Many of the exhibits are the late president’s belongings, such as his clothes, medals, calligraphy and photographs. You will also find his official cars.
Aside from seeing the exhibits, visitors will also be able to grasp the rough overview of President Chiang’s personal life, his political beliefs, how he established the Republic of China in Taiwan and many other aspects of his story.
Fact #4: Not all locals adore President Chiang.
It is true that he is the founding father of Taiwan, but there is also a dark side to the story during his rule.
His one party rule for almost four decades has introduced suffering to many Taiwanese during that time. He led with primarily authoritarianism with many referring to him as a dictator.
As part of his effort to curtail opposition to his own political party, he introduced martial law, also known as “White Terror”. During that time, about 140,000 Taiwanese were imprisoned and punished for being perceived as spies for Chinese Communists.
It was a time that Taiwanese are trying to leave behind. Since then, Taiwan has progressed into a modern society that exercises human rights and democracy freely.
Fact #3: Important ceremonies at the memorial hall follow a fixed schedule.
One of the highlights that are worth waiting for at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall is the changing of guards in the main hall.
The ceremony takes place every hour from 9:00am onwards to 5:00pm, with 5:00pm being the last interval.
Aside from the mounting of guards ceremony, the raising and lowering of Taiwan’s national flag within the memorial hall’s compound is also worth observing.
During the summer time from April 1 to September 30, the raising of the flag takes place daily at 6:00am while the lowering of the flag happens at 6:10pm.
The schedule changes slightly during winter from October 1 to March 31. The raising of the flag happens daily at 6:30am whereas the lowering of the flag occurs at 5:10pm.
Fact #4: The Chinese inscription on the main gate carries the meaning “Liberty Square”.
Liberty Square, formerly known as Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Square, refers to the wide and spacious plaza in between the main gate and the memorial hall.
It was named as such after efforts by the government to introduce changes the monument, so that it reflects Taiwan’s commitment to embrace values such as freedom, democracy and human rights.
Ultimately, not all the changes were realized, but the introduction of names like Liberty Square as well as Democracy Boulevard, referring to the walkway leading up to the hall, was preserved.
It is also worth noting that the square was a venue for events that helped develop Taiwan’s democracy over the years.
The influential rally related to democracy reforms that took place here is the Wild Lily student movement in 1990. Demonstrators demanded for direct elections of Taiwan’s President and Vice President, as well as new popular elections for all representatives in the National Assembly.
Fact #5: The Chinese characters around Chiang’s statue in the main hall are meaningful.
As you walk into the main hall, you will see Chinese characters that read “Ethics”, “Democracy”, and “Science” behind Chiang’s statue.
These words are the essence of Sun Yat-sen’s “Three Principles of the People”, and they are the motivations behind President Chiang’s political beliefs and ideals throughout his whole life.
The inscriptions of the side read:
“The purpose of life is to improve the general life of humanity.”
“The meaning of life is to create and sustain subsequent lives in the universe.”
Fact #6: Chiang Kai-shek is a Cantonese pronunciation of the former president’s name.
The official Mandarin pronunciation of Chiang Kai-shek is Jiǎng Jièshí. He is also known as Zhōngzhèng, a name used by many roads all over Taiwan.
Chiang Kai-shek is the pronunciation of the former president’s name in Cantonese.
Fact #7: The gardens around the memorial hall is a good place to stroll around during your visit.
The Chinese gardens within the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Park’s compound is beautiful.
On both sides near the front of the memorial hall is where you can find Yunhan and Guanghua ponds teeming with a variety of carps.
They are surrounded by artificial mountains, serene pathways, and arch bridges that make a perfect setting for a slow walk.
During different seasons of the year, the looks of the garden changes accordingly. They look the most beautiful during plum blossoms, cherry blossoms and osmanthus blooms.
Things to Note
Be respectful and keep noises low within the memorial hall.
Do not cross the lines near the statue of President Chiang.
The memorial hall and its park have their own opening hours as follow:
Opens daily from 9:00am to 6:00pm, except on Chinese New Year Eve and Chinese New Year.
Opens daily from 5:00am to 12:00am.
Tour guide service
+886 (2) 2343 1100
No. 21, Zhongshan S. Rd., Zhongzheng Dist.,
Taipei City 10048,
Chiang Kai-shek is perfect for intellectual travelers who are on a budget. Apart from being a beautiful landmark to admire, the attraction is also a great place to learn about the history of Taiwan, its founding, and President Chiang. Since the attraction has a dedicated MRT station, it is very convenient to access it too.