Wed, Sep 19, 2012 - Page 5 News List

FEATURE: Daan is Taipei’s overseas religious center

By Weng Lu-huang and Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The Taipei Grand Mosque, which faces Daan Park across Xinsheng S Road in Taipei’s Daan District, is pictured on Sept. 7.

Photo: Weng Yu-huang, Taipei Times

From a prism-shaped church to a traditional Arabian-style mosque, Xinsheng S Road in Taipei City’s Daan District (大安) is flanked by an array of religious buildings illustrating a rich variety of architecture and providing the area with a definite religious atmosphere, which has earned the thoroughfare the nickname the “Road to Heaven.”

Walking north along Xinsheng S Road Sec 3, Grace Baptist Church is the first religious building you encounter, standing opposite National Taiwan University (NTU).

In early 1951, three foreign missionaries who took up teaching positions at NTU and National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU) set about planning a church to accommodate ever-increasing members of their flock. After finding the site, they commenced construction work in 1954.

Following the opening of the church, Chou Lien-hua (周聯華) was invited to serve as a pastor.

The building underwent a renovation in 1983 to incorporate both Taiwanese culture and elements of Chinese architecture.

In a tribute to Jesus Christ, the roof of the church is designed in the shape of a hat that was worn by scholar-bureaucrats during the Ming Dynasty, with its yellow color symbolizing greatness.

Only a few steps away lies the Taipei Truth Lutheran Church, another long-standing religious structure, which was erected in 1952. The church was given a modern makeover in 2005, when a stained-glass roof was integrated into the building.

Arriving at the intersection of Xinsheng S Road and Heping E Road, where Daan Forest Park is situated, the Bread of Life Christian Church sits to the south of the park, while the Holy Family Catholic Church and the Taipei Grand Mosque stand to the west.

The Taipei Grand Mosque, the oldest and largest center of worship for the country’s Muslim community, was built in 1960 in accordance with Islamic religious edicts and Arabic construction methods.

The building, which was designated a historical site in 1999, includes several facilities, such as a prayer hall, ablution hall, community hall and two 20m tall minarets.

Heading further north to the intersection of Xinsheng S Road Sec 2 and Xinyi Road, a unique spiral building comes into sight — the Seventh Day Adventist Taipei Church.

The exterior of the church is bedecked with a mosaic pattern depicting the three angels of Revelation as a demonstration of the church’s determined mission to spread the messages of the angels to the world.

Standing at the intersection of Xinsheng S Road Sec 1 and Jinan Road, the two-story Taipei Wesley Methodist Church, founded in 1953, is renowned for its distinctive triangle-shaped doorposts.

Opposite the Apostolic Nunciature (the Embassy of the Holy See), which is situated at the intersection of Yongkang Street and Aikuo E Road, sits the place of worship for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — a religious group also known as the Mormons.

The church’s prism-shaped architecture and six spires were constructed with lightweight partition walls within a steel frame — a rare demonstration of architectural skill at the time of its construction. A miniature golden statue of the prophet Moroni, the son of Mormon, is pictured holding a horn above the tallest spire, which is about 34m in height.

According to local residents, the concentration of religious buildings on Xinsheng S Road is probably connected with the nearby NTU and NTNU, both of which are situated in Daan District.

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