Taipei is a large, crowded and bustling city that is the unofficial capital of Taiwan. It is also the largest with a population of over two and a half million people. Taipei is located in the northern portion of Taiwan on the Danshui River. Taipei is the top industrial section of Taiwan and is responsible for most of the textile, machinery and electronic production of the entire country. As a result, Taipei’s economy enjoys a healthy growth of over five percent and the city has virtually no unemployment.
Taipei is also a city that seems to be torn between the past and the future. While there are countless monuments of industrialization such as factories, warehouses and skyscrapers, there are also historic landmarks and attractions that will keep the world traveler coming back again and again.
Taipei 101 is one of the tallest buildings in the world and is a bastion of economic progress in the city. This building, which is designed to look like a rather large pagoda, stands at over sixteen hundred feet. The bottom of this building is dominated by shops and restaurants, but its the observatory that will interest most visitors. From this impressive vantage point and incredible view of the city can be attained. And travel to the observatory is made almost effortless by the super speedy lifts located in the building.
Not quite as high as the Taipei 101 is the Shin Kong Life Tower. This tower was built in 1993 and stands at about eight hundred feet on a plot of land that is about ten thousand square meters. This skyscraper was one of the first attempts by the government of Taipei to combine a public square, office building and shopping center in the same high rise structure.
Shilin Night Market is a shoppers dream come true. Not only is their a virtual cornucopia of shops and stalls but this market also serves to impart a cultural experience that is virtually unmatched. As its name implies, this market starts when the sun goes down. Visitors can find goods from clothing to souvenirs and this market also contains plenty of food stalls to keep shoppers happy and content.
After a trip to the busy markets visitors can check out some local culture at the National Palace Museum. This collection contains some of the most important works in Chinese history. As a matter of fact, many of these items were originally located in China’s forbidden city before they were moved here during the Chinese civil war. Other museums in the city include the Shung Ye Museum of Formosan Aborigines, Lin Liu-hsin Puppet Theatre Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art.
One of the most popular buildings in all of Taipei is the Longshan Temple. This beautiful temple was built in 1738 to honor the Goddess of Mercy, Guanyin. It has been a favorite place of worship for many residents of Taipei, even though its history is pretty turbulent. This temple has been damaged many times by war and natural disasters, but each time it has been rebuilt. It is now a temple that is not only graced by its long history but is one that is still very much in use today.
Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall is a monument that was built by the Chinese government after the death of President Chiang Kai-shek died in the April of 1975. It consist of a white square building with an octagonal roof. All around it are flower beds planted with red flowers. The combination of red, blue and white allude to the colors of the flag of China. The main entrance is attainable by climbing one of the two sets of eighty nine stairs. The ground level of the building contains a library and museum that documents the life of this President. This monument is flanked by both the Presidential Office Building and the National Theater and Concert Hall.
Another famous monument in Taipei is the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall. This monument is dedicated to the founding father of the Republic of China, Dr.Sun Yat-sen. This building was erected in 1972 in Chung-shan Square Park. This monument not only has many exhibits on the life of Dr, Sun Yat-sen but also contains exhibits pertaining to the culture of Taipei. The outside of the building is covered in magnificent gardens where residents and visitors can take the time to relax. This monument also has an hourly changing of the guard which has itself become a popular tourist attraction.
The Red House Theater is another prominent location in Taipei. It was originally built in 1908 to be used as a market. Today it contains several shops where artist can hawk their creations, as well as an exhibit on the history of the theater itself. There is also a small cafe where visitors can rest and refresh themselves. The top floor of the building routinely offers live performances to visitors.
Besides monuments, restaurants, hotels and museums Taipei also has a large number of public parks. These include the Yangmingshan National Park and Taipei Botanical Gardens. There are also a number of smaller tourist areas that include shrines that can be seen all over the city.