No.505, Sec. 4, Ren’ai Rd., Xinyi Dist., Taipei City 110, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
One of Taipei's most recognizable structures, the entirety of this building is dedicated to Dr. Sun Yat-sen (孫中山), his life and legacy. If there's one thing that visitors to Taiwan should prepare for before arrival is that noteworthy people are often known by multiple names. As a central figure in both Taiwan and China's modern history, Dr. Sun Yat-sen serves as a primary example. The literal romanization of his Chinese name is Sun Zhongshan, and the Zhongshan portion of which is an oft-used name for districts and streets around Taiwan. So why is his given English name so different (Sun Yat-sen)? This is due to the pronunciation of his name in Cantonese, the dialect of an area in southeast China and Hong Kong, from where many early immigrants to the West originated from. Therefore, many Chinese to English translations were originally based on an approximation of the Cantonese sounds.
But Dr. Sun Yat-sen's most important name, for which this hall was built, is the nickname adopted after his death: 國父. The first character, 國, means nation, and the second, 父, is father. Therefore, Dr. Sun Yat-sen is posthumously known as the “Father of the Nation”. Having led numerous rebellions that eventually toppled the final empire of China, the Qing Dynasty, Sun Yat-sen served as the first president of the Republic of China. Although his government would subsequently be driven from China by the Communists, the government and ruling party of Taiwan is the same republic he helped establish in 1912.
Sun Yat-sen was more than simply a leader of a rebellion, for as the voice of a people hopeful for change at a tumultuous period of China's history, he also established a set of core values that all Chinese people should strive for. These came to be known as the Three Principles of the People: nationalism, democracy, and the livelihood of the people.
The memorial hall also houses a giant statue of the Father's likeness and is guarded by two stoic soldiers who perform rifle and marching maneuvers once an hour during the changing of the guard ceremony. Watching from the second floor balconies is recommended for the best views and to avoid the crowds that can obscure the scene on the first floor.
Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall (國父紀念館) is far more than simply a house for this leader's legacy. Also present are numerous galleries showcasing top Taiwanese and renowned international art exhibitions. In addition, a library focused on Taiwanese and Sunology research, study rooms, lecture halls, a buffet restaurant and cafe, and one of the largest concert halls in Taiwan can all be found within the premises. Built to accommodate public events, the grounds outside the hall are a favorite space for families to fly kites and elderly to practice their taichi. For a free foot massage, dare yourself to walk the Health Trail, which is laid with polished stones meant to engage the pressure points of your bare feet. Top off your visit to Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall with a quiet stroll around Lake Tswei that will lead you to a delicious ice cream rest stop at Bigtom.