Taipei (Day 1 – Part 2) [Bangka] Wanhua District

My next destination after a worthy walk in Ximending was Central part of Wanhua District where more historical sites are located such as Longshan Temple, Bopiliao Historical Block, Qingshan Temple and Taipei Jen Chi Hospital. Below are the continuation of my adventures as I travel in Taipei continues.

While looking at the map, another temple caught my interest to see, and that is Longshan Temple. To reach the temple I have two options, one is to walk from Ximending or take a train to Longshan Temple Station if I take Bannan Line (or Blue Line in Taipei Metro) and its next station after Ximen Station. Because I had limited time and still wanted to reserve my energy for other walks that I plan to do, I decided to take train. When I get off the station, I found myself in Mengxia (Mengjia) Park or Bangka Park where quite number of people having laid back time and enjoying the weekend. While looking around the park and checking where Longshan Temple is, I found a group of old Taiwanese playing a chess like board game. I am not really sure if it’s really a traditional chinese chess, so I leave that item as it is.

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Longshan Station Entrance/Exit

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Senior Citizen playing chess like board game.

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Chess like board game

Bangka Park (Mengxia [Mengjia] Park)

I continued walking and looking around a bit hoping to see interesting stuff along the way to the temple. Before I found the temple, I saw Longshan fountain that people are enjoying in the park. Based on history, the park was a large pool before it converted to a park in 1924.

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Longshan Fountain

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Vicinity of Bangka Park

[Bangka] Mengxia (Mengjia) Longshan (Lungshan) Temple

The temple has so many names, here I will use the common one which is Longshan Temple. The temple is the most well-known temple in Taiwan which built in 1738, though tested by natural disaster for a long time, it was damaged heavily during World War II and since then, it was restored and keeps on renovating. The temple is one of the largest and oldest in the country.

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Main Entrance

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Outer Courtyard

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Main Hall

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Longshan Temple is a 2nd grade municipal heritage site which important gods from Buddhism, Daoism, and Confucianism are enshrined. The temple has at least 100 gods which one of the reason why there are lots of visitors come to see the temple.

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Bopiliao Historical Block

After wandering inside the Longshan Temple, I found a nearby historical block which is Bopiliao. It is block located in the corner of Kanding Road and Guangzhou Street with some portion of it are still on bricks and some looks been restored as it’s already concreted with cement. The block is great place to see what is it like on streets and shops during Qing Period, Japanese occupation and early post wars. The building is a combination of Fujian and Baroque style which quite unique as it has fusion of two different architectural concepts, that exist in the block.

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[Bangka] Qingshan Temple (Qingshangong)

Another temple that I had a chance to see though I wasn’t able to go inside of it was Qingshangong or Qingshan Temple. The temple is categorized a 3rd grade municipal heritage site and a home of god King Qingshan. One of the festival held in Wanhua called “Great Bangka Sacrificial Ceremony” is to celebrate the birth of deity King Qingshan and the festival itself is one of the “Taipei’s Big Three Temple Fairs.”

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Road photos on my way looking for Qingshan Temple

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Qingshan Temple

Huaxi Street Night Market

My walk continues in the nearby area of the temple then I passed a night market called Huaxi Street Night Market. Historically, it is the first tourist night market in Taiwan. It has uniqueness on its own as it sells local delicacies that cannot be found in other night markets. The market is also one of the 3 famous street markets that surrounds the area that everyone can enjoy while visiting the place.

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Huaxi Street Night Market

Taipei Jen-Chi Hospital

A historical hospital building has been declared a municipal heritage site and considered as Taiwan’s Earliest Psychiatric Hospital.

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Taipei Jen-Chi Hospital

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Guangzhou Street near  Longshan Temple just after crossing Xiyuan Road

So far, I am enjoying my walks in Wanhua district. As I am checking the map that I am holding at that time I decided to leave the district and visit another, Xinyi District, which is both government and financial district of Taipei, then a bit of Daan District. Until then.

Queen Victoria Women’s Centre – Vestige of Old Hospital But Now A Women’s Pride

Another more than century old and historical building that I had a chance to tour during Open House Melbourne event last July 2013 was Queen Victoria Women’s Centre. It was built in 1848 as Melbourne Hospital and undergone different era (different names) which become part of the colorful history.

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Here’s a bit history of the building.

Former “The Melbourne Hospital”

When it was opened in 1848, the building become older than the Victoria state since Victoria just separated from New South Wales in 1851. Even though started on its humble beginnings, the hospital grew and become the famous The Royal Melbourne Hospital.

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Old The Royal Melbourne Hospital
Photo courtesy of The Royal Melbourne Hospital Organization

Former “The Royal Melbourne Hospital” (1912-1944)

Melbourne Hospital has been rebuilt due to demands are growing tremendously as the city of Melbourne became populous. After it was rebuilt, the building changed its name to The Royal Melbourne Hospital. At that time, the hospital occupied the entire city block bound by Swanston, Lonsdale, Russell and Little Lonsdale Streets which shows how the hospital is really huge shown from photo above.

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Entire Block has been occupied

Former “The Queen Victoria Memorial Hospital” (1944-1987)

When The Royal Melbourne Hospital move to another site, the building was occupied by The Queen Victoria Memorial Hospital wherein based in history, the work pioneered were more on women’s and children’s health.

Current “Queen Victoria Women’s Centre” (1986 – present)

The only building left which supposed to be for demolition is Queen Victoria Women’s Centre. The rest of the building has refurbished and become commercial space. The building still standing today because women in Victoria fight and claim the site. And with that I got a chance to see this building that main goal is all for women like me.

The Building Tour

I was walking along Lonsdale Street to see if I can still discover another building before I end my Saturday. And there I found Queen Victoria Women’s Centre. It attracted me as I thought that its another historical building based on its exterior design. I crossed the road and went inside the building.

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Queen Victoria Women’s Centre

I decided to visit the building as I know that I had more than an hour left before the event be over for the day. During the open house event, the building’s ground floor, rooftop and 4th level with balcony had been open to the public.

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At the hallway, I found exhibits in both sides to enjoy. Then, I went straight to the rooftop as I followed other visitors. It still kind of refreshing to be in a rooftop of the building again even though I had been in Council House 2 rooftop, though QVWC (Queen Victoria Women’s Centre) has just 4 floors and not so high, visitors and myself still enjoyed the scenery. At the rooftop I saw the dome of State Library of Victoria not far from the building,  some view of the city from the top and the two cupolas of the building.

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State Library of Victoria Dome

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Cupolas closely visible at the rooftop

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Street View

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At the Rooftop

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4th Level of QVWC – The Original Ward

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Model of the building

After touring the building, I ended my day with lots of learning and discovery. This is one of the reasons I love Melbourne, the city has rich history through its building. The event helped me understand how the city developed to the way it is now.

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Queen Victoria Women’s Centre

Notes:

1. Plan to visit Queen Victoria Women’s Centre ?
Address : 210 Lonsdale St, Melbourne, Australia

Ground Floor with Exhibits are open to public during opening hours 9:00am – 5:00pm / Mon – Fri

If you really wanted to see other parts of the building for free, the right opportunity is during Open House Melbourne which happens in one weekend of July every year, to check if the building is participating in Open House Melbourne event please check here.

2. Public Transportation Ticket – Use Myki (Melbourne Ticketing System), please check here for more details.

3. Directions

Using tram

Use tramTracker Apps or even just Google Maps (use directions) and there are tram routes available
Route: 1, 3/3a, 5, 6, 8, 16, 64, 67, 72 –> get off at Stop 10 Bourke Street Mall/Bourke Street or Stop 8 Melbourne Central Station Route

Using train

Visit the official Public Transport Victoria website to be able to use the Journey Planner for the next train schedule.

Ride from any station and get off at Flinders Street Station or Melbourne Central Station

From Flinders Street Station, get off at St Kilda Road Exit and continue walking along Swanston Street and turned right at Lonsdale Street, walk few more meters and the building can be found.

From Melbourne Central Station, get off at Swantons Street Exit and continue walking along Swanston Street and turned left at Lonsdale Street, walk few more meters and the building can be found.