The Taiwan Martyrs’ Shrine (officially The National Revolutionary Martyrs’ Shrine 國民革命忠烈祠) is set on the side of Qingshan Mountain very close to the Grand Hotel and the neighborhood of Neihu (內湖區). It’s hallowed ground, dedicated to those who fought and died for the Republic of China in the Sino-Japanese War, the Chinese Civil War and the First and Second Taiwan Straight Crises. About 390,000 soldiers died in these wars, and their spirit tablets can be found here.
Twice a year, the President of Taiwan and high officials come to the Martyr’s Shrine to pay their respects to the fallen war heroes. But what many people come to see is the changing of the guard ceremony, which happens every hour on the hour.
This was my first visit to the Martyrs’ Shrine. I guess I’ve never been that interested in military history or even the usual tourist sights, and never got around to visiting this one.
I was pleasantly surprised at how nice the shrine is. It set in a beautiful and peaceful location, with a pristine mountain to the rear and the Keelung River to its front. With that, and the grand but simple architecture, a serene atmosphere is certainly achieved for such an important and emotional place.
But the thing that truly makes the visit memorable is the changing of the guard ceremony that happens every hour. Perfect military precision is on show as the Honor Guard perform. The ceremony instilled in me a sense of honor that the guards must feel to protect such an important monument, and reminded me of what I’ve heard about the soldiers who guard the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in America.