Taipei’s Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall

I entered through a thirty metre high archway. The grandeur of the twenty-five hectare park with the National Concert Hall on one side and the National Theatre on the other side of a wide path to the memorial, made it was clear that Chiang Kai-Shek was revered beyond all others.

Chaing Kai-Shek Memorial Hall, Taipei
Through the arch was Chiang Kai-Shek’s huge statue, Taipei

I stepped into the memorial and spied a huge statue of Chaing Kai-Shek and expected that would be all I’d see. But this building had another couple of floors below where numerous photos about his personal and political life were on display. Some of his clothes and other possessions, his medals and awards and even his black Cadillac were on view.

Replica of Chaing Kai-Shek & his office
A replica of Chiang Kai-Shek in his office

Chaing Kai-Shek joined China’s Revolutionary Party with hopes of destroying the Communist Party. In the 1920s he became Commander-in chief of the National Revolutionary Army only five years before Japan attacked Shanghai. He signed a ceasefire agreement, but a year later after a skirmish known as the Marco Polo Bridge incident, a full scale Japanese invasion began. Chaing Kai-Shek then pledged to resist the Japanese.

A year after the war ended in 1945 with victory over Japan, Chaing Kai-Shek visited Taiwan for the first time. A few years later he became the president of the Republic of China, but he didn’t give up his fight against the Communist Party and Russia.

Eventually he became the president of Taiwan where he propagated Taiwan’s autonomy, created land reform, set up Taiwan’s political system and made nine years of education compulsory.

National Theatre (L) National Concert Buildings
The National Theatre left and the National Concert Hall on the right

I hadn’t planned to visit his shrine/museum, but kept passing the train station named after him on my journey to another part of Taipei. Then I had problem with the local ATM machine and had to exit at that station. Only then, my curiosity peeked enough to take a look, and I’m glad I did. After Yehliu Geopark, it was the next best place to visit in Taipei.