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The Shilin Presidential Residence

1. Garden landscaping at the Shilin Presidential Residence using the Ox as symbolic theme.Many a Taipei denizen would tell you that the grounds of the Shilin Presidential Residence, stretching 9.28 hectares, are home to the city's finest flower gardens. Cosseted by the surrounding line of Fushan (Mt. Fu) hills, the grounds are a relaxing mix of flat and hilly areas. The hills behind form a protective shield in the Dazhi Fortress Area, while the flat area and its facilities are open to the public for rest and relaxation.

2. The rose is the Shilin Presidential Residence's representative flower, the height of their glory coming in the February through May bloom.As soon as you step inside the grounds, you'll see the blackand-green painted parking facility once used by former President Chiang Kai-shek. Continuing on, you next arrive at the open-air music venue, constructed in 1998. Free concerts are given here, and the impressive surroundings have made this a popular spot for music lovers. Right before the concert facility stands Mt. Fu, in fact a hillock easily climbed (so climb it!) that is topped by the twostory Ciyun Pavilion . Built by the Generalissimo in memory of his beloved mother, it is reached via three flights of stone steps. From the pavilion you can look west to Shezidao and the Tamsui River, and romantics arrive toward sunset to take in the pretty show over Mt. Guanyin. Directly to the north looms the mighty Yangmingshan massif, and you can easily pick out the peaks of its tallest beauties, majestic Mt. Datun and Mt. Qixing. When the former President Chiang Kai-shek was a resident here, security in the area was tight, for safety reasons, local buildings and renovations were strictly controlled. For this same reason, original facilities within the grounds are low, few, and unobtrusive, giving full play to the delights of the natural mountain-base scenery. While strolling the grounds, the thrills of the big city melt away, replaced by colorful butterflies and hopping squirrels busy at their never-ending work tasks. Flitting birds regale you with songs just to make sure you've relaxed completely.

3. The Western-style gardens are Baroque in theme, a favorite backdrop for wedding-photo shoots. 5-7. At the Shine cafe there is comfortable outdoor seating, and inside photos of the former first couple are used as decorative adornments and available for sale as mementoes as well.The place has exquisite landscaping. Among the highlights of the outer gardens are greenhouses luxuriant with bonsai and lovely rose gardens. The big yearly rose bloom occurs from February through May, as 20 types and 3,000 individual stems working in unison to create a vision of splendor you won't soon forget. The rose, for reasons you'll clearly see for yourself when you go, is the iconic plant that defines Shilin Presidential Residence for the city's people. The rose plays the central role in nature's play here because Soong Mei-ling, the former first lady, was partial to them. Her husband was partial to a colorful beauty more central to traditional Chinese culture, the plum blossom, and you'll see more than 100 types showing off for you along the walkways. The plum blossoms growing amidst the rose gardens here symbolize the interdependence of the first couple. 4. The classical-style four-cornered Xinlan (New Orchid) Pavilion is also called the Longevity Pavilion, and each year homage is paid here to former president Chiang Kai-shek and he is wished a long life.The main building, deepest within the grounds, was the couple's home, and the axis of the layout of the complex. The residence is for the time being not open for public visits, but the interested can get a view of the exterior through the gate enclosure. The north-side entrance area can most plainly be seen; this was the reception area for distinguished guests, of which there were many, including US then-President Eisenhower and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, to name a few.

In spring when the sun begins to spray dabbles of light over the plants of the Shilin Presidential Residence, there is a burst of activity and, soon, a tidal wave of rainbow colors. Gentle breezes waft over strollers as they become intoxicated with the chorus of fragrances. Roses dance dreamily, suspended from their supporting frames. The enchantments of nature surround and caress you in a place that also makes you ponder the whims and puzzles of this land's history and culture.

The Shilin Presidential Residence
Tel: (02) 2881-2912 / 2881-3013
Add: 60, Fulin Rd., Shilin District
Hours: 08:00-17:00 Official holidays 08:00-19:00

1. Take MRT Tamsui Line to Shilin Station (Exit 2), then walk approx. 7 minutes.
2. Take bus No. 220, 260, 285, 606, 612, or 902 to Taipower North Taipei District Office stop.