What you need to know
If you plan on visiting Taipei soon, you can now apply to stay in the Presidential Office Building. Application deadline is on August 31.
Would you spend a night at the Presidential Office Building (總統府) in Taiwan? It's one of Taipei's most iconic buildings and 2019 marks its 100th anniversary.
In honor of its centenary, the Presidential Office will be granting greater access to the public, inviting 20 groups of overseas guests to spend the night at the historic location.
The Presidential Office Building often holds open houses, granting members of the public access to the main entrance, entrance hall and auditorium, as well as the south and north courtyards and first floor exhibition areas.
In coordination with the General Association of Chinese Culture (GACC), Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC), and Taiwan Tourism Bureau, Spend a Night @ Taiwan’s Presidential Office Building will have personal housekeepers welcoming the lucky guests upon their arrival in Taiwan. They will stay in a private room within the building that has been renovated into a cozy Taiwanese-style hotel room.
Guest will be invited to the daily flag raising ceremony (if they can brave the 5:30 a.m. call time) and will also enjoy a special Taiwanese breakfast before joining a guided tour of the Presidential Office Building. The first group of guests (checking in on October 9) will also be invited to join the National Day parade.
The experience is available to non-Taiwan nationals only in an effort to help promote Taiwan to the world. For a chance to be selected, potential guests need to submit a video outlining their trip to Taiwan – why do they want to come here? – and why do they think they're the best candidate? The guests will be selected by Taiwan Tourism Bureau, MOTC and Taiwan Visitors Association, as well as travel writer Uğur Rıfat Karlova (Wu Feng), travel blogger Hsu Alston, and teacher Chan Wei-hsiung.
Registration Is Now Open From August 12 to August 31
Applications can be submitted online here. Winners are expected to be announced between mid and late September. Good luck!
5 Things You Should Know About the Presidential Office Building
Thinking about spending the night there? You might want to familiarize yourself with the building’s history. Here are five facts you probably didn’t know:
1) It was designed and built during the Japanese colonial era
The Presidential Office Building was originally built as the Office of the Governor-General of Taiwan. It was designed by Japanese architect Uheiji Nagano (長野宇平治) and construction began in 1912. The building was completed in 1919, costing 2.8 million yen in total.
2) It was damaged during World War II
The building was bombed by the Allied powers in 1945 during the Raid of Taihoku. The bombing caused considerable structural damage and the resulting fire burned for three days. It was not repaired until 1947 when the Taiwan Provincial Government carried out a restoration plan using funds from private donations. The restoration’s completion coincided with the 60th birthday of the former President Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石).
3) It became the president's office in 1950
Following the conclusion of the Chinese Civil War and the Republic of China losing control of the Mainland, the Presidential Office Building became the official office of the Taiwanese President in 1950. The president's office has remained in the same location ever since.
4) It was once the tallest building in Taipei
Standing at 60-meter high, the tower was the tallest structure in the Taipei basin during the Japanese occupation. Taipei 101 has, of course, replaced the presidential office as the tallest building nowadays.
5) It’s in a tourist-friendly location
Not too far from Taipei Main Station, the Presidential Office Building is within a walkable distance from National Taiwan Museum, 228 Memorial Park, Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, and the Ximending shopping district. It's a perfect location to add to your itinerary for a day of sightseeing in Taipei.
The News Lens has been authorized to repost this article, originally published on Taiwan Scene.
TNL Editor: Daphne K. Lee (@thenewslensintl)
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