2-28 Peace Memorial Park

Park in Zhongzheng

Image by Jui-Chi Chan Getty Images

Established in 1908, this was the first urban public park in Taiwan built on European models. Known as Taihoku (Taipei) Park under the Japanese, then Taipei New Park under the Kuomintang (KMT), its present name hails from 1996 in recognition of one of the pivotal events in Taiwanese modern history, which began here: the killings known as the 2-28 Incident.

The incident involved an uprising in which Taiwanese protested against the post-WWII Chinese government set in place by Chiang Kai-shek. Tens of thousands were killed in the following months.

In the centre of the park stands a memorial to 2-28 and at the southern end of the park a museum dedicated to the event. Otherwise this lovely little area of old trees, pond, pavilions, pathways, bandstands, shrines and historical relics is used just as its founders intended: as a meeting place, a hangout and a general refuge from the city. In the days before smartphone dating apps, this park also used to be a cruising area for gay men.