The Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall was built in memory of Chiang Kai-Shek, a prominent political leader in China. Even though many people consider the rule of Chiang Kai-Shek to be filled with controversy, the government nevertheless constructed the memorial hall in his honor.
A competition for the memorial hall’s design was held, and the design of architect Yang Cho-cheng was chosen, which was a bit similar in appearance to the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum. Construction began in 1976, a year after Chiang Kai-shek died, and was completed in 1980. The place eventually became one of the most popular places and an important landmark in Taipei.
The memorial hall is a grand structure standing right in the heart of Taipei. It is found on the eastern end of the Liberty Square. Outside the building, there is a wide park where people would go every morning to do some Tai Chi. On the grounds of the park stands the Taipei National Theater, and across it is the National Concert Hall. These two buildings frame the memorial hall on both sides when viewed from afar.
The Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall is an elegant white building capped with an octagonal Chinese-style blue roof made with glazed tiles. In front of it is a magnificent garden decorated with red flowers. The entire height of the structure is 76 meters. It has a set of stairs on either side, each having 89 steps to represent the age when the former leader died.
Two 16-meter high double doors serve as entrance to the building. On the ground floor of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, you will find a museum dedicated to the political leader. The museum documents the life of Chiang Kai-shek and the impact he had in the shaping of Taiwan’s history. In the main hall, which is on the upper floor, you will find an enormous statue of a smiling Chiang Kai-shek in traditional Chinese clothes. The statue is made of bronze. There are interesting inscriptions on the walls above, behind, and beside the statue.
Because of the many controversies surrounding the rule of Chiang Kai-shek, the Taiwanese people have different opinions about him. Some regard him as a hero while others dislike him. A lot of people have been petitioning the renaming of the memorial hall, and some people even want to have the former leader’s statue removed.
In 2007, President Chen Shui-bian changed the building’s name to National Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall and named the surrounding park as Liberty Square. Some signs and displays in the memorial hall were removed. However, in 2008, newly elected President Ma Ying-jeou reverted the building’s name to the original but retained the name Liberty Square for the park.
The Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall is located in Zhongshan South Road in Taipei. The locals refer to it as “zhong zheng ji nian tang”. It is accessible by MRT and is within walking distance from the Taipei Main Station. It is open from 9 am to 6 pm. The surrounding park is open anytime of the day. Admission to the memorial hall and the Liberty Square is free.