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29 December 2019 / leggypeggy

Start the day with a Changing of the Guards

Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall, Taipei, Taiwan

The Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall overlooks Liberty Square

Main entrance gate, Liberty Square, Taipei Taiwan

Main entrance gate

A full-on ceremony is great way to start a day, so on our first morning in Taipei we headed off to the National Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall.

The complex surrounds Liberty Square and includes the hall itself, grand entrance gates, magnificent gardens, the National Theatre, the National Concert Hall and—drum roll—the hourly Changing of the Guards.

Dancers, National Concert Hall, Taipei Taiwan

Dancers practice on the verandah of the National Concert Hall

Our timing was perfect. After strolling around the grounds and seeing people practicing a dance in front of the Concert Hall, we headed up the steps that led to the main hall. The place was packed.

Within a few minutes and without any announcement, the surging crowd began to drift to the edges of the massive room. That’s when we realised the Changing of the Guards was about to begin. Before long an official and a volunteer (yellow vest) began to extend the barriers. Then, to our amusement, the official straightened the uniforms of the two guards currently on duty.

Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall

Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall

Straightening a uniform

Changing of the Guard, Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall, TaiwanChanging of the Guard, Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall, Taiwan

At 10am sharp, three uniformed men appeared—two new guards and their escort. They marched in slowly and deliberately with arms swinging in precision, knees lifted high, and a fair bit of heel clicking and foot stomping.

When the five guards were lined up in front of Chiang Kai-Shek’s statue, there was more foot stomping and heel clicking, along with several displays of rifle twirling. The whole ceremony lasted 11 minutes.

Changing of the Guard, Taipei Taiwan

A statue of Chiang Kai-Shek overlooks the Changing of the Guards

No doubt it is a great honour to be part of the the Changing of the Guards. The task is rotated among members of Taiwan’s main forces—the Army, Air Force, Navy and Military Police.

About the Memorial Hall
The hall was built to honour President Chiang Kai-Shek, a Chinese nationalist politician, revolutionary and military leader. He led the Republic of China from 1928 to 1975, first in mainland China until 1949 and then in Taiwan until his death.

Designed by architect Yang Cho-cheng, the hall has three platforms, the main hall and the large roof. The 89 steps that lead to the hall represent Chiang’s age when he died. The hall looks out on Liberty Square and the national concert hall and theatre.

The roof is shaped like the Chinese character for person. Its blue colour, along with the white of the hall, depict Taiwan’s national emblem of ‘Blue Sky and White Sun’. Inside, the ceiling shows the emblem.

The bronze statue of Chiang Kai-Shek is 6.3 metres tall and weighs more than 21 tonnes. It was made by Chen Yifan.

The hall includes exhibition spaces and a museum dedicated to Chiang Kai-Shek.

P.S. Not all pics have captions.

Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall, ceiling

Ceiling in the hall

64 Comments

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  1. Lynette d'Arty-Cross / Dec 29 2019 12:37 am

    Very impressive. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dymoon / Dec 29 2019 12:56 am

    sending happy thoughts your way.. thanks for the great post..

    Liked by 1 person

  3. magarisa / Dec 29 2019 12:57 am

    Stunning pictures! I especially like the first two.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. macalder02 / Dec 29 2019 1:12 am

    An impressive ceremony to not miss details of it. Your photos, as always, show the majesty of the gardens. Good thing you are enjoying that stay in Taipe.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. fragglerocking / Dec 29 2019 1:45 am

    Such an interesting place, the guards short trousers made me smile.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Eliza Ayres / Dec 29 2019 1:53 am

    Reblogged this on Blue Dragon Journal and commented:
    Thank you for sharing this, Peggy. I would love to visit Taiwan someday.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Dec 29 2019 10:28 am

      Thanks for the reblog. Always appreciated. I hope you make it here one day. Taiwan is a fascinating country.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. mistermuse / Dec 29 2019 2:32 am

    I couldn’t help being reminded by this that America could use a changing of the guard too — at the White House.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Fascinating. Perfectly in step!

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Dec 29 2019 2:03 pm

      I did get one pic in which they were a tiny bit out of step, but I thought it wasn’t fair to use it.

      Like

  9. Phil Huston / Dec 29 2019 3:12 am

    Those gardens are amazing. An overused word, but still. I get a hoot out of military fanfare, like where is the real line between these guys and the Rockettes? Forgive me – Is lunch time Chun-King of the guards? Sorry….

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Dec 29 2019 2:04 pm

      The gardens are wonderful and the Rockettes kick higher. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Phil Huston / Dec 30 2019 5:24 am

        But can they can can in those groovy white laced boots that are a cross between patent Doc Martens and high top Converses?

        Liked by 1 person

      • leggypeggy / Dec 30 2019 9:54 am

        I think those boots are just made for marching.

        Like

  10. beetleypete / Dec 29 2019 3:23 am

    Strange how we are attracted to such ceremonies. Wherever I have been, I always watched the changing of the guard. But by far the most emotional experience was watching the playing of the last post under the Menin Gate, in Ypres. Not a dry eye in the crowd.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Dec 29 2019 2:06 pm

      Oh Pete, you are so right. Nothing quite so moving as the last post under the Menin Gate. They are now doing the last post at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. Not quite the same as Ypres, but still very moving.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Popping Wheelies / Dec 29 2019 4:01 am

    Our time in Taipei was limited, and we missed the memorial. Thanks for sharing. Beautiful city and nation. Clean and safe.

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Dec 29 2019 2:07 pm

      We’re thoroughly enjoying Taiwan even if it is pouring with rain today. Wish I could channel it to Australia.

      Liked by 2 people

  12. dfolstad58 / Dec 29 2019 4:04 am

    Very interesting post, and excellent photos. Taiwan interests me as I met some nice people from there at a conference a few years ago. These memorial posts in different countries all have a very respectful atmosphere.

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Dec 29 2019 2:07 pm

      The Taiwanese people are fantastic; so friendly and welcoming. I highly recommend a visit here.

      Like

  13. Brian Lageose / Dec 29 2019 4:51 am

    I love the intensity of the practicing dancer in the forefront. She is ON it… 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  14. IreneDesign2011 / Dec 29 2019 5:03 am

    Good to see, that you are enjoying your stay in Taipei, Peggy.
    Those gardens are really beautiful 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Dec 29 2019 2:09 pm

      We’re having a great time. On reflection, I wish I’d taken some close-ups in those gardens.

      Liked by 1 person

      • IreneDesign2011 / Dec 29 2019 6:29 pm

        In the moment there are so many things to see and explore, which are more important than thinking in photos, Peggy.

        Liked by 1 person

      • leggypeggy / Dec 29 2019 6:44 pm

        So true.

        Like

  15. Anthony / Dec 29 2019 8:14 am

    That’s a good morning in Taipei. My mornings there were usually about people doing Tai Chi to indiscernible music played on worn out tape players.
    Also, the beautiful photographs you have taken here, were slightly ruined by construction scaffolding and construction mesh–but the photos turned out okay.

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / Dec 29 2019 2:13 pm

      We have seen Tai Chi being done in many places, but not here. Almost impossible to avoid the construction scaffolding and mesh.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. paolsoren / Dec 29 2019 9:11 am

    The blue/white colour in the Memorial Hall and the Entrance Gate is so different from the usual terracotta on the roof of most Chinese buildings. Quite dramatic.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Alison and Don / Dec 29 2019 1:18 pm

    How cool to be there at the right time and see the little ceremony. They all look so spiffy and precise. Must get to Taiwan one day!
    Alison

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Dec 29 2019 2:16 pm

      The change occurs nine times a day, but apparently it’s best to go in the morning, which is when we were there. I highly recommend Taiwan.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Emma Cownie / Dec 29 2019 8:20 pm

    I love the tiny hedges in the ornamenatl garden too.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. MichaelStephenWills / Dec 29 2019 10:40 pm

    What a show…loved the touch of how the guard uniforms were checked. Maybe they were in training?

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Dec 30 2019 12:23 am

      I reckon it’s his job. The uniform checker adjusted the clothes of the next set of guards too.

      Like

  20. Gilda Baxter / Dec 31 2019 9:20 am

    You timed it perfectly, very interesting to catch this ceremony. The weather looks a bit grey there, is it raining season? Are you staying for New Year celebrations? I hope you have a lovely time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Dec 31 2019 10:04 am

      Yes, it is the rainy season in Taiwan, but most days we have been lucky. We’re in Tainan for New Year celebrations. Nevertheless, a sobering time with the fires in Australia. If the wind changes, we may lose our beach house.

      Like

  21. Christie / Jan 1 2020 3:47 am

    Happy New Year Peggy! Hope Australia has favoring winds and plenty of rains in 2020 (soon!!)
    Christie

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jan 1 2020 10:12 am

      Thanks Christie. Wishing you a wonderful 2020. At the moment, we’re waiting to hear if our house at the beach has survived the fires. Bring on the rain.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. mesabele / Jan 1 2020 6:28 am

    ¡Felices Fiestas!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. shoreacres / Jan 2 2020 2:23 am

    I saw your note about your house in Vicky’s blog. I do hope you get good news. The reports I’ve been watching on ABC videos are horrifying. On the other hand, your photos here are splendid, scaffolding and all. I do envy your ability to travel, but with any luck at all I’ll at least get to the Texas hill country this year. Little steps!

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jan 2 2020 10:26 am

      Thanks so much. Our house still stands for now, but the weather forecast with 41°C (106°F) with winds on Saturday could mean disaster. The videos are terrifying. Hope you make it to the Texas hill country. Travel has to start somewhere.

      Like

  24. afterthelasttime / Jan 4 2020 9:42 am

    Looks very nice, beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. jeanleesworld / Jan 20 2020 2:03 pm

    What a cool thing to witness! And the lovely landscape makes for a unique sensory experience.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Sharon Bonin-Pratt / Feb 13 2020 11:56 am

    There’s serenity in the landscape photos and oddly even in the rigid poses of the guards – perhaps it’s the symmetry. Lovely photos.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. milliethom / Jun 3 2020 3:59 am

    A very impressive building, Peggy, and I love the formality of the ceremony. I’ve only seen one such ceremony before (no, I haven’t seen the one at Buckingham Palace, other than on TV) and that was in Santiago de Cuba. I know you’ve been to Cuba, so perhaps you saw that one, too. It was outdoors, though, not like this one in Taiwan. Love the photo of the two women dancers with their fans.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jun 3 2020 11:39 am

      We didn’t see that ceremony in Cuba. Guess we’ll have to go back someday. I took three pics of those dancers and they practiced and this one was just right.

      Like

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