Xiangshan derives its name from_ its external shape (“xiang” means elephant in Chinese) and is located at the south-eastern section of Xinyi District. Its composition is mainly sandstone, akin to that of Hushan. The tawny cliffs and giant rocks along the path, coupled with numerous natural life forms and birds, make the entire mountain resemble a natural ecological paradise.
It’s a great place for the general public to enjoy outdoor leisure time and bask in the beauty of nature. Along the trail there are explanatory sign boards providing information to visitors concerning the environment. The diversified cliff and slope terrains form a great nurturing ground for fern-family plants. In particular, the quantity of Taiwanese Cibotium (Cibotium taiwanianum) and Flying Spider-monkey Tree Fern (Cyathea lepifera) ranks top in Taipei City. Back in the days when medicine was not as advanced as it is today, Taiwanese Cibotium was commonly used to stop bleeding. The Flying Spider-monkey Tree Fern, on the other hand, is the most valuable ecological feature of Taipei City.
Standing on the top of Xiangshan, the entire Taipei Basin is right under your eyes. The extension of the ridge reaches into Zhongqiang Park of Xinyi District, and therefore has become the best evening stroll venue for local residents. It is also a great vacation spot for people to relax and relieve stress. The Six Giant Rocks “Laolaixia” is the name given to Xiangshan’s landscape of peculiar giant rocks. On top of these rocks, the entire view of the bustling Xinyi District is captured; it is a popular spot for photo-taking. The rising sun juxtaposed with Taipei 101 and the slumbering Xinyi District skyscrapers provide endless pictures of enjoyment throughout the day and night.
At a corner in Taipei’s high-end Xinyi District, a few low-rise houses sit closely together. These somewhat crowded buildings chronicled the tears and joy of veterans who migrated to Taiwan in the early days. This is the former site of Taipei City’s Military Dependents’ Village, called the “Sisinan Village”. With the increasingly fast economic growth and the rising living standard, these old houses no longer serve the needs of the residents. The City Government initially planned to rebuild them in 1999. However, through persuasion from_ the cultural circles, the City Government designated this premise as the Cultural Hall and Cultural Park of Xinyi District, and started operation in 2003.
The Hall consists of four symmetrical buildings. The houses that sat tightly next to each other have been converted into an open space for events and exhibitions. The premise now consists of an exhibition hall, Military Dependents’ Village Exhibition Hall, performance hall and community hall. The exterior still retains the unique low-rise and the simple, rustic style of the Military Dependents’ Village. The narrow alleys and footpaths will take the visitors down memory lane. It is a fascinating contrast to the neighboring towering Taipei 101 and surrounding modern buildings, a compelling testimony of Taipei’s urban development.
The 6.6-hectares Songshan Cultural and Creative Park in Taipei’s Xinyi District was completed in 1937 as the Songshan Tobacco Factory, which was one of the seed companies of a monopoly system mandated by the Taiwan Governor-General Office. The premises were one of Taiwan’s pioneers of modern industry, as well as the first professional tobacco plant. A gracefully simple Japanese modernist structure, the factory features meticulously crafted face cams, glasswork and bronze nails that made it arguably a “model factory” at that time. When Japan lost the war in 1945, the Taiwan Provincial Monopoly Bureau took over the factory and renamed it, Songshan Tobacco Factory of Taiwan Provincial Monopoly Bureau. The factory ceased production of cigarettes in 1998 for concerns over urban planning, regulatory changes in the tobacco and liquor marketing system, as well as shrinking demand. It became a relic of the past after being merged into the Taipei Cigarette Plant. In 2001, the Taipei City Government named the tobacco factory the city’s 99th historic site and converted it into a park comprising city-designated historic sites (namely the office building, the 1st to 5th warehouses, cigarette plant and boiler room), historic structures (the inspection room, a machinery repair shed and a nursing room) and architectural highlights (the Baroque-style garden, an ecologically landscaped pond, a public bath and a multi-purpose auditorium).
For more efficient reuse of space, the Songshan Cultural and Creative Park was built on the historic site as a production base for designers and cultural & creative businesses, as well as a venue for performances and exhibitions. The park introduced to its premises a Taiwan Design Museum and TMSK through partnerships with the Taiwan Design Center and prestigious Taiwanese glasswork label LIULI GONG FANG, respectively, besides a snack bar that was converted from____ the machinery repair shed.