Marching to the Beat: 3 Spots to See the Changing of the Guards in Taipei

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Changing of the Guards, Martyr’s Shrine
Marching to the Beat - 3 Spots to See the Changing of the Guards in Taipei, Taiwan
Marching to the Beat – 3 Spots to See the Changing of the Guards in Taipei, Taiwan

Visualize this:

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.

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(The three above pictures were taken at Martyr’s Shrine)

Martyr’s Shrine:

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.

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(The four above pictures were taken at Sun Yet Sen Memorial Hall)

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.]

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(The four above pictures were taken at Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall)

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?

Linking up with Wander Mom for #CityTripping

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38 thoughts on “Marching to the Beat: 3 Spots to See the Changing of the Guards in Taipei

  1. This is so cool and you got some great shots of the changing of the guards! I would love to see this. I have watched changing of the guards in London and Moscow and thought they were spectacular. I am sure this would also be a fabulous experience.

  2. I saw the changing of the guards at Marty’s shrine, but we had JUST missed it when we arrived so we just hung out for another hour under the hot hot July sun. But I felt even worse for those guys, wearing the full get up and long sleeves. Although my dad told me it was a really big honor to be one of the guards (my dad was in the Taiwan army) and it was really quite interesting to see.

    1. Wow! I had no idea it was an honor to be a guard! It is a pretty demanding role when you consider the weather elements and the precision needed. They must train for months!! Thanks for the additional info!

  3. I have always been enchanted by military march and precision. I would imagine the echoing of the marching feet and smacking rifles at Sun Yet Sen Memorial Hall to be quite impressive and maybe a bit haunting.

  4. I didn’t know that they do the changing of guards in Taipei, too. You took some really good photos, these guards have really serious look on their face! Thanks for sharing!

  5. I haven’t seen the change of the guards in Taipei, but have seen it at other places. It is so fascinating. Anywhere I watched it I always tried to make them smile or wink. But it’s impossible to confuse them.

  6. I love seeing the changes of the guards in London so I definitely think it’s worth the effort. Your photos are great…makes me feel like I’ve seen it in Taipei too!! But I would love to see it for real!

  7. This looks like an awesome experience! Yes, I would certainly love to experience this and I think one of the most interesting aspects about the Changing of the Guards around the world is how each country uniquely identifies themselves with such ceremonies.

    I have never seen one in person, but having watched them on TV (I know nothing compares to watching the real deal!), it really looks like an experience worth taking time out of your trip to ensure you are in the right place at the right time to capture the formalities!

  8. When we were in Taipei we walked in front of these places but we never stopped to see the changing of the guard, shame! I wish we read this post earlier 🙂

  9. I have seen all three of these (plus London). 🙂 I love changing of the guards. I thought the guard change at Martyr’s Shrine was fun because you can walk along with them, but I found the other two more moving because of being inside, with the echos, and also because of the statues overlooking the proceedings.

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