Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall (中正紀念堂)
The most prominent historical landmark in Taiwan, the CKS Memorial Hall was erected in honor and memory of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, the former President of the Republic of China, and was opened in 1980 as part of a national park and gathering area.
The name of the square is officially Liberty Square (自由廣場), as seen above the front gate, however the name change was politically motivated and most people in practice still refer to the entire complex as CKS Memorial Hall.
The octagon-shaped white building rises 76 meters and is covered with blue tiles and red accents, echoing the flag of the Republic of China. The eight sides represent the Chinese cultural symbolism of the number eight which is traditionally associated with fortune and wealth. The two sets of 89 steps represent Chiang's age of death and lead up to main hall housing a large bronze statue of Chiang protected by military personnel which change hourly.
The characters behind Chiang's statue read "Ethics", "Democracy", and "Science", and the inscriptions on the side read "The purpose of life is to improve the general life of humanity" and "The meaning of life is to create and sustain subsequent lives in the universe".
Below the hall is a museum documenting Chiang's life and career, as well as exhibits about Taiwan's history, pan-Chinese culture and history, and the ROC's development after moving to Taiwan.
Besides the main hall, the large complex includes the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Park (中正紀念公園), National Concert Hall (國家音樂廳), and the National Theater (國家戲劇院).
Chiang Kai-shek is known by multiple names. His official name is pronounced Jiang Jieshi (Chiang Kai-shek in Cantonese), as well as the name Zhongzheng (中正), most commonly used to refer to Chiang Kai-shek. The Chinese name of the hall is in reference to this name, as is the countless Zhongzheng Roads found all over the island.
Hungry after visiting the hall? Head over to Shi-Da Night Market to get some great food and do some shopping from local fashion retailers. Support the community and get some unique clothes.
Located less than 5 minutes away is the Presidential Office Building, a beautiful Japanese-style building that serves as the government center of the Republic of China. Take a tour and learn more about Taiwan's past.