Strolling around Showacho

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Mauerinstallation mit Seufzertor im Hintergrund

If you walk down the broad stretch of the busy Xinyi Road near Dongmen Station, it’s hard to believe that nearby is an area of small lanes with buildings dating back to the early 1900s, offering a glimpse into Taiwan’s time as a Japanese colony. 

For instance, did you know that you can still see the wall of the Taihoku prison? The former prison is now used as an office by Taiwan Telecom. However, you can stand next to the north and south walls. The north wall has a Gate of Sighs and a plaque commemorating a group of prisoners of war who were executed just before the end of World War II, and it is a rather somber area. However, the south wall is surrounded by restored residential buildings that once housed the guards and has a more relaxed feeling, not normally equated with a prison.

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Shida Art Museum

NTNU Art Museum

In the same area is the National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU) which was the first place of higher studies in Taiwan to establish an art department in 1947. The NTNU now has a very modern art museum building that sits like a hidden jewel in one of the narrow lanes in this area. The museum’s facade, made up of 192 triangles, has an angular shape that represents the university’s goal of “standing on the shoulders of giants and innovating.”

From modern to historical times, the area around the museum contains various houses that were once home to professors of NTNU, and were built in the traditional Japanese style. Some of these are now restaurants or tea houses that you can visit such as Qingtian 76 on Lane 7, Qingtian Street. Finally, this area is bordered on one side by Yong Kang Street, which is a vibrant street full of interesting shops selling tea, soap, leather goods and souvenirs. It’s also full of small restaurants and stalls offering pancakes, pastries and bubble tea, so you won’t go hungry.

If you’d like to learn more about the history of Taiwan from the early 1900s era and explore this area, then join Uta for The Center’s Tour of the Showacho District on 16 November.

#culture #centertours #Taiwan history  #centerevents

Lucy Torres

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