Liberty Square (AKA Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall) is one of the most notable landmarks in Taipei, as well as symbol and gathering place of freedom and democracy. featuring a large public square, Chiang Kai-Shek memorial, opera houses, and gardens. It is officially a monument to the Generalissimo and President of the Republic of China, Chiang Kai-shek. It's iconic scenery and architecture are a must visit for anyone travelling in Taipei.
The building itself gets its inspiration from the Sun Yat-sen mausoleum in Nanking, China. It took four years to construct and was finished in 1980, five years after Chiang Kai-shek had died.
The memorial hall has 89 steps which represent the age of Chiang when he died. Inside is his statue, along with a museum and exhibition dedicated to his life.
The plaza became the main gathering place for many demonstrations in Taiwan, such as the Wild Liliy student movement that helped to fully democratize Taiwan by demanding full muilt-party elections, to which the then president Lee Teng-hui agreed. In 2007, then president Chen Shui-bian changed the named of the plaza to Liberty Square.
In 2017, plans were announced to transform the memorial hall to respect human rights and face history, referring to Chiang Kai-shek's leadership during martial law andthe white terror, in which thousands of innocent Taiwanese civilians were imprisoned and killed.
Chiang Kai-shek's statue in the memorial hall has also been vandalized recently by pro-independence students.
Every day 9AM to 6PM.
How to get there:
By MRT: Take either the green line or red line to Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall station.
By Car/scooter: Take either Aiguo Raod, Xinyi Road, or Renai Raod to western Taipei and you should see it. There is paid car parking underneath the opera houses but free scooter parking on the street.
Please see below:
The main gate to Liberty Square.
I have been to CKS Memorial Hall about 5 times. The first time I went as a tourist was truly magical and I remember being very impressed by the size and scale of the place. I really felt like it was one of the best tourist spots in Taiwan. Now that I have been all over Taiwan I have different thoughts, because there is so much else to see and do here.
National Concert Hall 國家音樂廳
On either side of Liberty Square are the National Concert Hall (above) and National Theater. These were both completed in 1987 and were the most modern performing venues in Asia when they were completed. Both can have separate performances going on at the same time.
However you can only go in if you have a ticket and there is a show going on.
National Theater 國家戲劇院
View of the National Theater on the opposite side of liberty square.
Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall 中正紀念堂
The main part of the memorial hall is the white pyramid looking structure in at the end of the main courtyard, which was built to resemble the Sun Yat-sen memorial in Nanking. .
View looking out from the top of the memorial hall. This place resembles the forbidden city and is very photogenic.
The main hall on top has Chiang Kai-Shek's statue.
The roof and name plate of the memorial.
The statue is usually guarded by honor guards but today they were off early. I think it was a time like this that vandals came and spilled red paint on the statue.
Symbol of the ROC on the ceiling.
The entrance to the museum and exhibition hall is in the back of the memorial on the first floor.
Hand drawn art exhibit going on while I was there.
There is also a gift shop here which I think has some of the best souvenirs in Taiwan.
Main hallway with other art exhibitions.
Kids playing on one of the art exhibitions.
Chiang Kai Shek Exhibition Hall 蔣中正展覽室
The main exhibition hall has most of the history of Chiang Kai-Shek, which sits in the middle of the main hallway.
Miniature and cross section of the memorial.
Excerpts from Chiang's diary.
A room dedicated to the Chiang family story.
More exhibitions on Chiang's life and legacy.
There are two cars on display used by Generalissimo Chiang.
Photos and memorabilia.
"Wartime Leader of China"
"Chiang led his troops to oppose the Japanese army for 8 years, enduring many hardships. During that time, he was elected the highest commander-in-chief of the Chinese war zone by his allies and helped China free itself from unfair treaties to become one of the top four powers. After winning the resistance war, Chiang’s prestige was at its pinnacle."
Rickshaws and more photos on display.
Chiang's official car from the late 1970s.
The entrance to Chiang's office.
And there is Chiang Kai-shek alive in the flesh, waiting for you to take a selfie with him! Or maybe its Han Kuo-yu, you never know.
There was also a pop art exhibition in the hallway opposite of the exhibition halls.
Ornate ceiling inside the memorial hall.
To the south of the memorial are some nice gardens that you can walk through and relax in.
More gardens to the south.
The windows on the perimeter wall come in all different shapes and sizes.
View of the different windows on the outer wall.
Gardens as seen through a window.
Roof ornaments symbolizing imperial power, similar to that of the forbidden city.
Ornate hallway and floor tile on the perimeter.
A Chinese garden and pond.
Well kept greenery to the northwest.
A tax driver feeding pigeons in front of Liberty Square.
Map of the complex.
The east gate of Taipei (臺北東門) as it sits in the middle of a roundabout.
Within walking distance of the memorial hall is the presidential office building, which you can also tour! Check out our full blog on the presidential office building here.
Thank for reading, stay tuned for more of our blogs on Taipei coming soon.
We are US Expats that have extensive experience living, working, and travelling in Taiwan. In our day, we had to learn many things about Taiwan the hard way. But we have come to learn that Taiwan is one of the best places in the world for Foreigners to live. Our blog does not represent the opinions of every foreigner in Taiwan. We are just trying to help others learn more about this beautiful country.