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Chiang Kai Shek (CKS) Memorial Hall is a monument commemorating the life of former President Chiang Kai Shek, a strong 20th century military and political leader in China. One of the most visited landmarks in the country, it is considered to be one of the great landmarks of Taiwan.
He started his government career in 1909 while serving in the Japanese army, until he returned to fight in the revolution that dethroned the last emperor of China. In 1918, he joined the Nationalist Party, under the leadership of Sun Yat-sen, whose main objective was to unify China.
After Sun Yat-sen's death, Chiang took over and successfully routed the Communists - who later formed the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) - from within the Nationalist Party. However, it proved to be a temporary victory. He eventually established the People's Republic of China on Taiwan in 1949 when the CCP won the civil war, taking mainland China. He continued to serve as President of the Nationalist Government until his death in 1975.
CKS Memorial Hall was built to mirror the architectural lines of the Temple of Heaven in Beijing. The building and garden colors represent the red, blue and white of the Taiwanese Flag. Also, there are two sets of stairs within the Hall, totaling 89, representing President Chiang's age when he died.
Anyone interested in the political or military history of Taiwan would find the Hall fascinating. It provides terrific insight into the day-to-day life of President Chiang. Students can learn about their county's history while learning mathematical principles as they tour the Hall. Beginner orienteers will also find the CKS Memorial Hall interesting since it has been designated as a competition site.
Engineers broke ground for construction of the Hall on what would have been the 90th birthday of President Chiang in 1976.
Internationally renowned Chinese architect Yang Cho Cheng was selected to design the Memorial Hall and surrounding park. The building was completed and opened to the public in 1980.
The doors open from 9:00 am until 6:00 pm daily. Tours are available on Mondays at 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm. They are also offered on Saturday and Sunday at 11:00 am and 1:00 pm.
March to May is the rainy season, so unless visitors like drizzly rain while sightseeing, they may want to plan their visit for another time. Visits could be planned to coincide with the New Taipei City Pingxi International Sky Lantern Festival running from January 26-February 6 and the Taipei Dragon Boat Festival lasting from June 22-24.
The address for Memorial Hall is ZhongZheng District, Taipei City, Taiwan 100.
The Taipei City bus system has 23 routes passing by the Hall. Visitors can choose to get off at one of two stops - CKS Memorial Hall or Nanmen Market. There are also 3 private bus companies available to provide transportation. Another option to consider is China's MRT system, which has 3 lines that stop at the CKS Memorial Hall Station.
All foreign currency will need to be exchanged for NT dollars, including Travelers' Checks. Also, bring clothing suitable for spring-like temperatures since the climate is mild year round.
The National Chiang Kai Shek Cultural Center, housing the National Theater and National Concert Hall, is within walking distance of the Memorial Hall.
Other famous sites to check out are the Presidential Office Building, National Museum of History, Lungshan Temple, and Xuaxi Street Night Market, which are within a two mile radius of the monument. Yangmingshan National Park, home to the Datun Nature Park, is approximately 15 km north of Taipei City.