The top of the hour is fast approaching. Several people have crowded around the area to witness the spectacle which is about to take place. Cameras in-hand, video recorders on stand-by, everyone is congregating around, waiting patiently. The clock ticks to the top of the hour. Silence falls over the entire area and the only sound that can be heard is the synchronized clicking of the soldiers’ boots. The sound echos throughout the building. As they appear into view, cameras flash and spectators stare. The guards, who are wearing military attire to go with their expressionless faces, approach the area in perfect formation. They march to a silent beat as their arms swing forward and their legs raise in harmony. They proceed to perform a series of rifle movements, with a few salutes thrown in between. When the routine is finished, the marching guards take their place on the platforms and stand motionless until the top of the next hour. In about 50 minutes, their replacements will make the same grand entrance. If you happen to find yourself at Sun Yet Sen Memorial Hall, Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall, or Martyr’s Shrine, all located in Taipei, Taiwan, be sure to time your visit so you can witness the ‘Changing of the Guards’ which occurs at the top of hour.
The first time I had the opportunity to see the ‘Changing of the Guards’ in Taipei was at Martyr’s Shrine and it did not disappoint. The soldiers made their way from the building located at the rear, walked the entire length of the grounds, and proceeded towards the entrance gate. The Chinese architecture of the buildings in the background as well as a number of Taiwanese flags’ waving in the wind added to the overall atmosphere. A clearly evident, well-marked path from the Guards’ scuffs guided the way.
Sun Yet Sen Memorial Hall:
The changing of the guards at Sun Yet Sen Memorial Hall is performed inside and the atmosphere there is quite different when compared to Martyr’s Shrine. I feel it has is a more dramatic effect because of the echoing sound of the guards’ steps ringing throughout the structure. Unfortunately, I arrived late and had to watch from the sidelines. On the hour, the guards appeared through the left side entrance into the grand hall which houses a large statue of Sun Yet Sun. Standing in the middle of the hall, they performed their flawless routine. [For more information about the place, click here.]
Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall:
The routine at CKS Memorial Hall is very similar to the one performed at Sun Yet Sen Memorial Hall. They are both performed in a grand hall and in front of a statue of a major historical figure. The echoing effect is evident in both routines. However, I was lucky enough to find a place directly in front of the statue which proved to be the perfect place to watch the performance. [For more info about the place, click here.]
Have you ever seen the changing of the guards in Taipei (or anywhere for that matter)? If, do you think it is worth your time and effort? If not, would you like to witness such a spectacle?
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