Taiwan: Taichung (2009-2018)

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Taichung and Kaohsiung are the largest cities in Taiwan behind Taipei, with about the same population counts (almost 2.8 millions). Taichung is a thriving city that is often regarded as an attractive city to live in, in particular for its relatively dry climate, but not as a must-see place for visitors. However, I have made many trips to Taichung (due to my relation with Asia University), during which I have ″discovered″ a number of gorgeous places dotting the city (temples, traditional residences, modern architecture, small streets, museums...). Moreover, thanks to its location between Taipei and Kaohsiung and the high-speed train that runs along the west coast of Taiwan, Taichung is also well connected to the entire western side of Taiwan.




View over central Taichung (2009).


Same view 9 years later in the early morning with sunny weather (October 2018).


The Landis building (hotel ONE) in West district (2016).


Left: Another view of the Landis building (December 2018). Right: Sculpture and condominium building along the Calligraphy Greenway (December 2018).


The NTC building in Xitun district (October 2018). In the photo on the right it is partially occluded by The Lin hotel.


Large Mobius strip decorating the entrance of The Palace building in Xitun district (October 2018).


Old traditional streets (2016 and December 2018):


Although tall modern buildings progressively replace older and smaller structures, Taichung′s center remains home to many narrow, atmospheric streets.



Street shrine and temple below a large ficus tree (December 2018).




Feng Chia night market (October 2018):








Bridge and Wu′s Residence gatehouse in Taichung Park (2017).


Lotus flower in Taichung park (2009).

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Unusual (but temporary) display of decorated cow statues in the Calligraphy Greenway (2009).







Small puppet theater in Gongyi park (2016).





Taichung has a large number of temples, some gorgeous and/or of historical values, some less so. Below I only include a photo of one of them, Wanhe Temple. I put more photos of temples in Taichung in a separate page; to see them click here.


Wanhe Temple is a beautiful Matsu temple completed in 1726, forty-two years after most of western Taiwan had been conquered by the Qing Dynasty.



Wu Wei Tsao Tang Tea House (October 2018):


This traditional peaceful wooden teahouse set around a garden and fish pond mixes Chinese and Japanese elements. It is located at the intersection of the Gongyi and Dadun Roads.



Chaihsing residence (October 2018):


This traditional residence, also called Zhaixing villa (摘星山莊), is located in Tanzi district north of central Taichung. It was constructed by Qing Dynasty General Lin Chi-chung during the 1870′s and inhabited by the same Lin family until a few years ago. It is very well preserved and fortunately not overly restored. The main three buildings are the South-East Gate, the Entrance Hall, and the Main Hall. The Entrance and Main Halls and less important lateral buildings enclose a rectangular courtyard. They contain some exquisite wood carvings. This residence is one of the most, arguably the most, interesting places to visit in Taichung, but I was the only visitor when I went there.


The South-East gate, seen from the inside of the residence. Nowadays it opens into a very narrow, nondescript street.


The Entrance Hall . Note the decorations on the two sides and above the doors. They celebrate the academic achievements of General Lin Chi-chung.



Cochin (also named Jiaozhi) ceramics on the left and right of the door.


Stone carvings above the door.


Ancestor Hall. The two-character sign above the door of the Main Hall suggests that General Lin Chi-chung ranked first in the national Imperial Palace examination.




Wood carvings, some functional, some not, in the Entrance and Main Halls. They show that the best possible craftsmen were selected to build the residence.







Wufeng Lin Family Residence (October 2018):


This other traditional residence, located in the Wufeng district south of central Taichung, has been the home of the Wufeng Lin family since it was constructed between the mid-19th and early 20th centuries. Due to the big size of this family, the site is much larger than the Chaihsing residence and is divided into several sections. Only the Gong-Bao Di (宮保第, Residence of the Palace Guard) and the Great Flower Hall (大花廳) were opened for visit when I went there, as some members of the Wufeng Lin family still live in other parts of the residence. Unlike the Chaihsing residence, most of the Wufeng Lin residence was severely damaged by the 7.3 earthquake that struck Taiwan on 9/21/1999. Despite being beautifully restored, the repaired buildings look a bit new and are not as atmospheric as those of the Chaihsing residence.


(Source: http://wufenglins.com.tw/.)


First (entrance) hall of the Gong-Bao Di. (as depicted in the above map, the Gong-Bao Di consists of four halls separated by three successive courtyards.)


Second hall of the Gong-Bao Di (front and back).



Third hall of the Gong-Bao Di (front and back).



Fourth hall of the Gong-Bao Di.


Paintings on the doors of the first hall.


Paintings and calligraphy works in the second hall.







The Great Flower Hall, located on the right of the Gong-Bao Di, is regarded as the most impressive part of the residence. It is a ceremonial hall used to host banquets and watch performances. It is entered through two circular moon gates.


Inner courtyard of the Great Flower Hall, with a central theatrical stage. The hall was originally completed in 1894, but was reconstructed after the 1999 earthquake.



Formal living room facing the theatrical stage.


Rear left corner of the courtyard with outdoor seating next to the living room.


In the Wufeng Lin Family Garden.


Asia University (2014):


Asia University was founded in 2001. Its beautiful campus is located in the Wufeng district south the central Taichung. It is the site of a Modern Art Museum designed by Japanese architect Tadao Ando. It hosts impressive permanent collections of Auguste Rodin and Edgar Degas sculptures, perhaps the largest outside France, as well as rotating displays of works by local and international artists.


Main building of the university.


In the Modern Art Museum of the university:

- The Thinker of Auguste Rodin and the Little Dancer Aged Fourteen of Edgar Degas.


- Small bronze casts of dancer poses from Edgar Degas.


- ″Cosmic Dance″ with levitated objects, by Taiwanese artist Nick Dong.


- ″We Came Whirling Out of Nothingness″, by Taiwanese artist Charwei Tsai.


- Paper sculpture created by Chinese sculptor Li Hongbo, a bust made of thousands of paper sheets stacked and glued together like an accordion with no hole inside that stretches into unpredictable shapes.


Gaomei Wetland (December 2018):

This wetland area is located some 22km northeast of Taichung′s city center.



Sandpipers and fiddler crabs.


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