Tag Archive | museum

The Top Things To Do In Taiwan

taipei_101-TaiwanThe relationship between Taiwan and mainland China hasn’t been the most cordial over the last half century, and the differing philosophies can be seen in the different path that Taiwan has taken.  The impressive city centre in Taipei is the epitome of modern capitalism, and it is a particularly popular place to come shopping and to socialize.  For those visiting the island, Taiwan is a wonderful combination of historic buildings, events, modern city and natural beautiful scenery.

Visit The National Palace Museum

The history of the NationalPalaceMuseum is as interesting as that of Taiwan itself, having originally been based in the Forbidden City in Beijing.  The collections include some of the most important pieces from the Imperial history of China, and these were first evacuated from the Forbidden City in 1933 during the Japanese invasion, and relocated to Shanghai.  As the civil war in China intensified in the late 1940s, the collections of the museum were then evacuated to the island of Taiwan.

Today the museum is one of the most popular tourist sites in the country, and has a collection of nearly 700,000 items.  There are over 1,000 years of Chinese painting shown in the artwork on display, and also has a large collection of calligraphy which is particularly important in China.  There are also many examples of carving and sculpture to be seen, with an interesting series of carvings in Jade particularly popular, including the unusual and ornate Jadeite Cabbage.

Enjoy The Dragon Boat Festival

The Dragon Boat Festival is an event that is celebrated across many parts of Asia, particularly those that have been influenced by China.  The most significant part of the festival in Taiwan is the racing of the dragon boats, which are usually raced over short to medium distances and packed with teams of rowers that will have one paddle each and sit in two rows in the boat.  As well as the boat races themselves, it is also traditional to eat rice dumplings and drinking realgar wine.

Visit The Taroko Gorge

The Taroko Gorge is at the heart of one of the most famous national parks in Taiwan, and is popular because of the amazingly steep and high gorge sides that rise hundreds of feet above the river.  The tricky roads that travel along the course of the gorge are narrow and can be particularly treacherous as many cyclists along with tourist buses share these roads in the TarokoNational Park.  During the summer, the gorge can also be enjoyed from a different perspective, as a number of rafting groups run trips down the river at the bottom of the gorge itself.

See The Skyscape From Taipei 101

Taipei 101 is one of the world’s largest skyscrapers, and actually held the title between 2004 and 2010.  Standing at a huge 509 meters tall, the tower stretches high into the air and has a distinctive shape due to the need for the tower to be able to resist the strong typhoon winds that can hit the city.  On a clear day, the best place to see the city is from the outdoor observatory which offers stunning views over the city of Taipei, and is also often lit up and surrounded by fireworks during special events and festivals.

Visit Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall

The Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall is a large building erected in memory of the military leader who brought the Nationalist government of China to the island of Taiwan as their fortunes in the civil war waned.  The hall stands among large open grounds and ornate gardens, at the end of a broad avenue which is flanked by the National Concert Hall and the National Theatre before reaching the hall.  The hall itself also has a library and museum dedicated to the memory of the country’s former leader.

The Top Historic Sites In Bangladesh

Shat-Gambuj-Mosque-Sixty-Dome-Mosque-BangladeshThe country of Bangladesh is one that is dominated by water, with much of the nation lying at a very low altitude, and with a series of Himalayan rivers flowing through the country into the Bay of Bengal.  The country itself has a varied history having changed hands a number of times between a variety of Empires, before its current borders were established in 1947 as East Pakistan, but the country gained liberation and independence in 1971.  This varied history as a part of other nations has left a number of historical sites in the country, but many important historical areas have been lost due to the annual floods and cyclones that hit the country.

Somapura Grand Monastery

Dating from the eighth or ninth centuries, the Somapura Grand Monastery is one of the most important sites in Bangladesh, and would have been a part of a greater network of monasteries across the region.  The site is made up of a large central shrine and would have been surrounded by a large number of cells for the monks to stay in.  The inscriptions around the Monastery do date the monastery to the Pala Dynasty, and according to Tibetan records it was one of the five great monasteries and centers of Buddhist learning at the time.

Today the cells around the monastery are little more than ruins, but the large central shrine has been significantly excavated and lovingly restored, with many of the carvings exposed.  Its importance in the greater Buddhist culture has led to the Somapura Monastery being recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage site.

Sixty Dome Mosque

The Sixty Dome Mosque lies in the district of Bagherat, and is one of the most important Islamic sites to be found in Bangladesh, dating from the fifteenth century.  The mosque is formed of four circular towers at the four corners of the building, with the large number of domes making up the roof.  The building itself actually has seventy seven domes, but it is believed the name may have originally been the Mosque of Sixty Pillars, which is an accurate description of the building.

The thick walls and the towers at each corner of the building may have been a sign that the mosque was built by a military man, and was one of the first Muslim outposts in the area.

 Ahsan Manzil

This elaborate palace was the seat of the ruling family during the nineteenth and the start of the twentieth century, and is typical of Bangladeshi building as it lies on a raised platform.  This is to deal with the potential flooding that can happen from the nearby BurigangaRiver, and also to provide a more prominent position.

Today Ahsan Manzil has been fully restored and is now home to the BangladeshNationalMuseum, and shows off the beautiful building along with many exhibitions tracing the history of this fledgling country.


This archaeological site is believed to be the oldest example of a settlement in Bangladesh, which has been dated to at least the third century BC, although many historians believe it is significantly older.  This ancient city was the capital of Pundravardhana, and the citadel was at the very centre of the site.  A number of discoveries including terracotta tiles, sculptures, pottery and coins have all been found in the excavations of the site.

Although there have been a number of mounds excavated on this archaeological site, there are many that are yet to be explored.

Lalbagh Fort

This fort dates from the seventeenth century, and is notable as it was never finished by Prince Muhammad Azam Shah who commissioned the building.  The daughter of the successor to Prince Shah died at the site, and her tomb is to be found on this site.  It is believed that he then abandoned building feeling that the site brought poor fortune.

Today the fort itself is a popular visitors site, and there is also the ornate tomb of Para Bibi is another of the features that attract people to the area.  There is also a mosque and the ruins of the fortifications that were built around the fort itself.

The Top Cities To Visit In China

Beijing_forbidden_city_palaceThe change that has been seen in China over recent years as it opens up to the world has been dramatic to say the least, and the burgeoning tourism industry in the country is really starting to welcome visitors to the once Communist states.  As you would expect with the largest country in the world, some of the cities are absolutely huge, but they can also be fascinating places to visit.


The capital city of China has a population that is estimated to be slightly over 20 million people, but it is also one of the oldest and most important sites in Chinese history, the seat of government for so many emperors over the centuries.  One of the most important attractions in Beijing is the ‘Forbidden City’ which was home to emperors for over five centuries, and is now one of the most important museums in the country.  The wooden buildings are a part of a huge palace complex that is designated as an UNESCO world heritage site.

Beijing is also home to other historic structures such as the SummerPalace and the Great Wall of China is also only a short journey away.  For those looking for more modern examples of amazing architecture, the 2008 Olympics saw a number of sensational buildings constructed as sports venues, none more so than the spectacular Bird’s Nest Stadium.


While Beijing may be the capital of China, Shanghai has the accolade of being the largest city in China, and based at the mouth of the Yangtze River has always been one of the most important business hubs in the country.  For those in the ultra modern Pudong district it seems difficult even to imagine that Shanghai is anything but a historic city, but the European architecture of the Bund area, and a number of tall Pagoda towers in the city tell a very different story.

For those looking to relax after a tough day’s sightseeing or shopping, the FuxingPark is a charming area of French gardens surrounded by upmarket cafes and bars.  A short train ride from the city centre is the ShanghaiBotanical Garden, and this provides a great contrast to the bustling metropolis of the city centre.


Although it is not one of the largest cities in China, Xi’an should be on the itinerary of any visitor to China because of the amazing history of the city.  One of the greatest sights in the whole of China is the spectacular Terracotta Army featuring over eight thousand sculptures of life sized horses and soldiers that were created for the death of the first emperor Qin Shi Huang.

As you would expect with one of the oldest cities in China, Xi’an also boasts a number of historic buildings, including some of the most important examples of Pagoda architecture such as the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda and the Famen Pagoda.  The city walls themselves are also very impressive and open to the public, while the Great Mosque of Xi’an is one of the most important Muslim sites in the country.


Nanjing is another city that lies on the YangtseRiver, and is also one of the most important cities in China.  Having served as the capital of China for many years, Nanjing holds many of the features that you would expect in a fortified city, and the city walls built in the fourteenth century are the longest in the world.

Visitors to the city will certainly want to visit the impressive Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum, and after a long day walking the traditional evening pastime of boating on the QinhuaiRiver is a great way to relax.  The city also hosts an annual Plum Blossom festival, where the plum trees are all in bloom giving a wonderful colorful aspect to the city.


Guangzhou is the third largest of the cities of China, and lying near the south coast of China has a sub-tropical climate that makes it different from some of the northern cities.  The city was formerly known as Canton, and has seen significant modernization over recent decades, with the business centre in Zhujiang New Town and the CantonTower both being impressive sights.  The city also shows many signs of the English missionaries that were sent to the city in the nineteenth century, with the beautiful Shishi Sacred Heart Cathedral being one of the best examples.