Skip to main content

Old Houses in Taipei

A while ago I wrote a short post about an old house in Taipei's Roosevelt Road which I'd been often passing by, wondering if it was a building from the Qing Dynasty or from the Japanese era. I thought there weren't many such old houses left in that area, but, while taking long walks around Gongguan, Taipower Building Station, Guting and Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, I found out that I was wrong.  In fact, there are several of them, scattered all around this part of Taipei City. However, they are not very visible, and if you don't look carefully, chances are you won't even notice them. There are three reasons for this. First, they usually stand isolated among modern buildings, sometimes sandwiched between or hidden behind them. Second, they are usually surrounded by high walls. Third, they tend to be so decrepit and neglected that they lose much of their charm. 

Just a few days ago, I found a house that might be from the Japanese era. It is so far one of the best preserved I've seen, and apparently the building is being renovated, so we may hope that it won't be torn down for the sake of some new high-rise apartment block, of which Taipei has already more than enough. 












This house is in a much better shape than most other old ones I usually see in Taipei. Most of them have been much less fortunate, as the two examples below show:






I am always surprised by the lack of interest for these old houses among the population. Moreover, no one seems to think about integrating them in the urban landscape, using them for museums, exhibitions, or for other purposes. In another post I will talk about a coffee shop in an old Japanese building, and I will show that this type of constructions can actually be used and have some advantages compared to new ones, especially the unique atmosphere. 

As you can see, a wall isolates the house from the rest of the city, probably for safety concerns. I wonder why in Taiwan, which is a very safe country, these old houses are protected as if they were military garrisons. By way of comparison: 

Street in Dahlem, Berlin (source: Wikipedia)

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Will The Huawei Case Finally Awaken Democrats To The China Threat And The Danger Of Faux Free Trade Rhetoric?

On January 28 the Department of Justice of the United States unsealed two cases against Huawei, China's largest telecommunications company, and its chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou. 
Huawei has been accused of trying to steal trade secrets, committing bank fraud, breaking confidentiality agreements and violating sanctions against Iran. One indictment claims that Huawei attempted to steal trade secrets from T-Mobile by promising bonuses to employees who collected confidential information.
Huawei is not a company like any other. Over the years it has benefited enormously from the support of the Chinese Communist regime. The founder of Huawei, Ren Zhengfei, joined China's army during the Cultural Revolution. In 1978 he also joined the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). 
In the early years Huawei's sources of capital were high-interest loans (20%-30%) from Chinese state-owned enterprises. Ren also secured soft loans from the local government of Shenzhen thanks to his personal co…

Chinese Dissident Zhang Jilin Detained By Police In Chongqing After Calling On Xi Jinping To Resign

Chinese dissident Zhang Jilin (张吉林) has been detained by police in the city of Chongqing after publicly saying that President Xi Jinping should be removed from office.
According to Taiwan-based Apple Daily, on January 17 Zhang talked about China's current affairs on a WeChat group. His ideas received praise from the group members, and he later told friends that he wanted to give a public speech based on the thoughts he had expressed online.
Other dissidents urged him to be careful, but he insisted that he had "the right to free speech." On January 19 Zhang went to Guanyinqiao Square, in the city of Chongqing, and delivered a speech about China's political situation, calling on Xi Jinping to be removed from office.
"I think it's time for Xi Jinping to be removed from office," Zhang told a crowd according to an audio recording. "The Chinese Communist Party will not do anything to the people. If you don't believe me, look, I have been giving a speech…

China Is Releasing A Cartoon About The Life And Times Of Karl Marx To Popularize Communist Ideology

On Monday Chinese video sharing website Bilibi (哔哩哔哩) will be releasing a cartoon about the life and times of the founder of Communism, Karl Marx. The Publicity Department of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party (CCPPD) and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences have partnered to create the cartoon, whose aim is to popularize Marxism.
The cartoon, entitled The Leader (领风者), has been realized in a style reminiscent of Japanese anime and consists of 7 episodes of 25 minutes each.  The story focuses on the young Karl Marx' friendship with Friedrich Engels and his relationship with his wife, Jenny von Westphalen. A trailer released in December shows Marx portrayed as a young, handsome and energetic leader. 
The cartoon aims at making Karl Marx more accessible the common Chinese people, who may not be familiar with his theories.
Marx has experienced a revival in China after Xi Jinping took office in 2012 and began emphasizing the importance of Marxist ideology.   
Marxism-L…