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Zhongshan Underground Book Street Gets Facelift

Mayor Ko Wen-je paid tribute to the late founder of Eslite Bookstore Robert Wu during the inauguration ceremony for the renovated Zhongshan underground mall on August 7.

Taipei Rapid Transit Corporation joined hands with Eslite Bookstore in carrying out the overhaul of Zhongshan underground mall. A successful example of collaboration between the government and the private sector, the project took only 75 days to complete at the cost of NT$45 million. The new underground book street is touted as a new tourist attraction in Zhongshan commercial district – opened just in time for the expected influx of foreign visitors during the upcoming 2017 Universiade.

During his address, the mayor expressed his gratitude to Wu for his contributions to Taiwan in redefining the meaning of bookstores. Through his effort, Taiwanese have become aware of a refined culture involving humanities, arts, and creativity. Eslite Bookstore has also become a source of pride for Taipei, Ko acknowledged.

Ko told the media that the renovated Zhongshan underground book street is not only a place for purchasing books, but a recreational spot where people can sit down, chat over a cup of coffee, and even reflect upon their life. He noted that he is looking forward to reading the letter from the bookstore’s late founder, the content of which is presumed to include suggestions regarding the City’s cultural industry development.

The mayor also took the opportunity to set forth his vision on transforming Taipei into a “city museum” fusing the old and the new cultural elements. The strategy involves invigorating the northern sector (e.g. Beitou Park, Beitou Hot Spring Museum, and Yuanshan Tunnel), central sector (e.g. Dadaocheng, Bangka, and Zhongshan Underground Book Street), and southern sector (e.g. Kishu An Forest of Literature, Treasure Hill, and Toad Hill) of Taipei, as well as promoting cultural feasts such as the azalea festival and Nuit Blanche.