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Dream Walk through Xicheng: Special Exhibition Unveiling a Century of Stories in Taipei

 Xicheng (“western city”) refers to Wanhua District in the west of Taipei City, which was the first part of the Taipei Basin to be developed. The Dream Walk through Xicheng special exhibition is split into six areas: Riverside Taipei, Twentieth-Century Taipei, The River of Memory, Reading West Taipei, Images of Taipei City, and Return to Glory (the last of which is scheduled to open on May 25, 2018).

Interspersed with images of the Danshui River, the exhibition uses historical documents and exhibitions of cultural relics to reveal the rich history behind West Taipei. Visitors will see the district’s history unfold from the early days during the Qing Dynasty, when it was known as “Bangka”, and its incorporation into the growing city under Japanese rule, and the rise of Nishimoncho (today’s Ximending), to the post-war development of Zhonghua Market, and finally to the residential planning as part of modern west Taipei.

Curated by the Taipei City Archives, the exhibition looks at this unfolding history in terms of the changing face of river transportation. Over the last 100 years and more, west Taipei has been witness to many tales: the rise and fall of trade, industrial transformation, and the transition of political power. Visitors who step into the Riverside Taipei area will see the earliest Kangxi-era map of Taiwan, an important national historical relic. Also on show are a map of Northern Taiwan from the Sino-French War and the first grant for land development in western Taipei—the 1709 Tân Lōa Chiong Land Grant.

 The exhibition area also showcases changes in the daily life of ordinary citizens. The Japanese era brought with it a taste for the Japanese take on Western style, with men and women alike experimenting with Western fashions. Contemporary advertisements for wine and sake show how modern entertainment and consumer culture evolved.

Memories of Old Taipei
Many long-time Taipei residents recall Zhonghua Market, located near Ximending, which was once home to intensely competitive businesses and festooned with neon signs. As night falls, brightly colored signs still conjure up a vibrant nocturnal atmosphere.

In the Twentieth-Century Taipei area, visitors will find a selection of photographs of Zhonghua Market that recall this vibrant period of Taipei’s history. Also on display are classic clocks from the 1930s, part of the Taipei City Archive collection, along with audio recordings provided by Lin Benbo that lead visitors back in time to the buying and selling and entertainment culture of old Ximending.

 The Story of Bangka
Situated at the confluence of the Dahan and Xindian Rivers (tributaries of the Danshui River), Wanhua District’s easy access by water made it a thriving trade hub. In the exhibition area The River of Memory, visitors can cruise back in time along the Danshui River, taking a look at the river’s impact on human life through ten tales of fortunes tied to west Taipei.

Also on display in this area is Hong Yinan’s “Molan”. Hong was born in Qing-era Bangka and won wide renown for his poetry and calligraphy. He was the animating force behind the Ying Society, one of Taiwan’s three major poetry societies, and today his masterworks are precious components of the Taipei City Archive collection.

Parts of the original Bangka Longshan Temple, taken into conservation in September 2014, give visitors a better understanding of the original structure of the temple and its intimate relationship with the area’s residents and urban development.

In addition to the exciting and vibrant exhibits, the Taipei City Archives have also organized a series of innovative and educational events, the first of which will be the Old Bangka Walking Tour on December 9, 2017. Visitors will be guided through west Taipei and get an insight into the district’s history and development from the distinctively local perspective of the tour guides. All comers are welcome.

Special Exhibition Venues
33–39 Lane 173, Kangding St. (Bopiliao Historical Block)
From December 1, 2017, through October 31, 2018

129 & 131 Guangzhou Street
Open in 2018

Opening hours are 10 am to 5 pm, Tuesday to Sunday (closed Monday)

For further information on events and to register, go to the Taipei City Archives website at, email, or visit the Facebook page at

  • Hit: 57
  • Updated: 2017/12/31 09:31
  • Reviewed: 2017/12/31 09:31

  • Source: The Taipei City Department of Cultural Affairs
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