March 4, 2010

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Office of the President, Taipei, Taiwan

It was quite a hot day last week, when I decided to see the famous Office of the President of the Republic of China 中華民國總統府. I took a walk from the Taipei Main Station and first saw the Shin Kong Life Tower, took some photos of it and moved on. A very kind young guy helped me with the directions. It was a long walk, but when I finally saw the building from afar, I was very happy. The closer I got, the more impressive it was. The roads around the buildings are wide and huge, they are real boulevards, but not as crowded as the ones in other parts of the city.

The area around the palace

There's a lot of security around the area. Police on all corners, there were even some military vehicles parked nearby. Young men are guarding the building, they're armed and in uniforms. But there are also another kind of security, which look like secret service agents. They are positioned on many crucial points around the building and wear casual clothes with ear phones (just like in the movies). They look at everyone very suspiciously, but that's their job. I felt like a spy with my camera and frankly a bit intimidated. Firstly because of the impressive building and secondly, because of the huge security and how they looked at me. They're definitely serious, keep that in mind. When I saw all that, I thought it must be the most secured building in whole Taiwan and I wondered, how many snipers were pointed at me. I walked slowly with my Pentax and took only few photos. There weren't many tourists, I only saw one Japanese man that day.

A brief history of the building

The Presidential Office Building of the Republic of China today is the former Governor-General's Office 台灣總督府 during the Japanese occupation of Taiwan (1895-1945). The building was designed by two Japanese architects. The architectural competition was won by Uheiji Nagano 長野宇平治, but his design didn't feature today's impressive tower. That tower was later added by Matsunosuke Moriyama 森山松之助, who became the construction division director at the Governor General’s Office site (read more about Moriama here; Taipei Times, 28. Dec, 2009). The construction began in 1912 and ended 1919.
Moriama is also known for designing the nearby Guest House, the former residence of the Governor-General 台灣總督官邸 under Japanese rule. During the WWII the building was heavily damaged by allied air raids. Since 1950 the building houses the President of the ROC (Taiwan). An image of the neo-Baroque palace is depicted on the very rare 200 NTD banknote. Read more about the building's history, design and renovations on the official website of the President of ROC.

See my photos of the Presidential Office Building:

The northern wall of the building.

The tower is 60m tall, which is 2m taller than the tallest church in Maribor.

A closer view on the tower from the northern part.

The tip of the tower.

Another view on Moriama's landmark tower.

The palace as seen from the northwestern corner.

A view from the usually empty parking space.

The tower again.

A military vehicle shows, that the building is under heavy protection.

The Bank of Taiwan building.

The heavily guarded main entrance of the building.

See my visit to the Office of the President and peak inside>>

A view from the Ketagalan Boulevard.

The Presidential Palace as seen from near the Guest House.

If you want to see this building, go out at Taipei Main Station and walk south. About 10-15 min and you will spot the palace in the distance.

View Taiwan Map by Kafkaesque in a larger map

Map and useful information


Pinyin: Zhōnghuá Mínguó Zǒngtǒngfǔ
Related website: Homepage
My useful tips: Transportation in Taipei


Judicial Yuan
Control Yuan
The Guest House

Always double check my information before use, blogging is just my free time activity; I can't be held liable for any loss, damage or discomfort occurred as a result of using my travel guides | Romanization in Taiwan

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  1. I've heard about the earthquake!!! How are you???

  2. @Daisy: I am fine here, thanks. I haven't felt any shaking, it was in the morning and I was sleeping. Thanks for your concern.

  3. What cam do you use? Your pics are always great.

    Hey btw how are ya? You felt anything?

  4. @Ruma: Yes, indeed :)

    @Harini: Thanks, I'm perfectly fine. I haven't felt any tremors, I was sleeping. It hit southern Taiwan more than the north.
    The camera is Pentax white DSLR, it's my girlfriend's and she's so kind to borrow me. It really does take amazing photos :)

  5. @Lily: I am fine :D I didn't feel anything. Thanks :)

  6. All the buildings are so monumental.

  7. @Saša: Well, the ones I'm writing about, yes. There's much more of those, who are just simple and old, run down a bit. Taipei is a mix of old and new.

  8. great pics but you were probably wise to take them from a safe distance...i'm finding your Taiwanese adventure very informative! :)

  9. @Adamantixx: I just like to share how I see the things through my eyes. A little bit of facts, a little bit of opinion. I'm not the first, nor the last who went to Taiwan, but I want do things my way. I feel pics tell more than words, so I'll say what I have to say and the rest is seen in pics. But reality is always something else :) And thanks for liking my posts, I appreciate it.

  10. Great to see shots from a country, which I ( sorry to say) up intil now only associated with "made in Taiwan".

    So, you been there about a week? Still all new, no homesickness? :)

  11. Very happy to hear that you're ok! :-)

  12. Hey, be careful over there ! Many earthquakes.
    A friend of mine is heading there soon. Shall direct him to your blog. Seems like many bloggers and friends are heading there. Can easily do guide on Taiwan soon. Dun even need to go there. haha. :D

  13. @Carina: Still new, not really home sick :)

    @Daisy: Thank you :)

    @Roxy: I can't affect earthquakes, but I'm ok so far. Well, I'm happy, if my blog is of any help and source of information :)


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