Taiwan Fun Magazine, March 2006

Discovery Center Of Taipei

1, ShiFu Rd (1F to 4F, Lower Building, West Gate, City Hall); (02) 2757-4547 ext.8630
Hours: Tues-Sun 9 am-5 pm
Closed Mondays and National Holidays
Free admission
MRT: City Hall Station

--By Claire Tyrrell Translated by Jade Weng

The Discovery Center, situated in the Taipei City Hall, invites us to delve into the history of Taipei and gain a better understanding of the city pulsating around us.
Enter City Hall and, just to the right of the entrance, is the "Impressions Hall" with an information desk, and familiar faces being quoted giving their impressions of Taipei--both good and bad!

Head up to the fourth floor and begin your voyage of discovery by entering the "Dialogue with Time Hall". Focussing on the historical development of the city, it includes original tribes, the emergence of trade, and the changing face of the city. The old wall features prominently, as do the areas of Manka and DaDoaCheng and the famous DiHua Street. All information, provided in Chinese and English, is both interesting and given in very manageable chunks.
This is, however, primarily a place of visual images in the form of models, old and new photographs, and film footage--which combine effectively to provide thought-provoking insights.
From the nostalgia of the old city, head down to the third floor and view the more modern face of Taipei. Here the images continue with the lights and neon of Taipei's modern thoroughfares and changing skyline, while also featuring the environment, movie industry and architecture.
Also visit "Discovery Theater" with 360-degree screens, a rotating platform and integrated film, light and computerized special effects. Films are about 15 minutes long and cover "The Formation of Taipei", "City Life", and "My Dream City" (contact center for schedule). All contain thoughtful clips, and "The Formation of Taipei" leads from an explosive start of volcanoes, through traditional-style animation and historic film footage, ending in a burst of fireworks.
Admission is free and I certainly recommend a visit to appreciate, once again, the city we call home.