March 29, 2014
Chiang Kei-Shek Memorial
This morning we once again took the shuttle and train down to the Chiang Kei-Shek Memorial. As many of you will remember, Chiang Kai-Shek was the Chinese political and then military leader of the Republic of China between 1928 and 1975. Chiang Kai-Shek fought the communists and eventually retreated to Taiwan but continued to declare his intention to retake mainland China, which of course he never did. He ruled mainland China for 22 years and then Taiwan for another 30 years. And he is revered here.
The monument in his memory is surrounded by a park that includes the National Theater and the National Concert Hall. The first thing you see is a large, beautiful gate, all white with a blue tiled roof. The memorial itself is also all white with an octagonal roof rising 249 feet above the ground and covered in blue tiles. The blue-and-white colors of the building with the red flowers surrounding it represent the colors of the flag of the Republic of China (i.e., Taiwan). The roof is octagonal because the number eight is a number traditionally associated with abundance and good fortune.
To read more about the CKS Memorial, the Nanmen Market, and the Flower Market, click on this link:
Taipei 101 was formally known as the Taipei world financial center and is a landmark skyscraper. It was the world’s tallest building until 2010 when the largest building in Dubai was built. It has 101 floors and the first five are the shopping mall which is filled with, and only with, high end designer shops. Since we had a bit of time, we walked around the shopping mall. When I say designer shops, think every high end designer from Fendi, Prada, Gucci, Versace, Tiffany, etc etc.
As with much and Asia there is symbolism to the design of the tower. The hundred and one floors commemorate the renewal of time, the new century that arrived as the tower was built and all the new years that follow. It symbolizes high ideals by going one better on 100, the traditional number of perfection. At night the building is beautifully lit with neon colors with the bright yellow gleam from its pinnacle representing a candle or torch upholding the ideal of liberty and welcome.
To read more, please click on this link: