The Grass Mountain Chateau, the first official residence of Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石), located on Yangmingshan, will reopen to the public today following an extensive reconstruction project to restore the historical building that was damaged in a fire in 2007.
More than 1,815m2 of the chateau’s wooden structure was burned down in the accidental fire and has now been rebuilt according to its original structure with replicas of all exhibits remade, Taipei City’s Department of Cultural Affairs said.
To celebrate the reopening of the building, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) stressed the historical significance of the place as Chiang’s summer retreat and said he expected the historical site to become a top tourist attraction in Taipei, especially among Chinese tourists.
“The Grass Mountain Chateau overlooks Yangmingshan and bears significance in Taiwan’s history because Mr Chiang made major decisions and met important guests in this place,” he said at the chateau.
The chateau was built in 1920 as a vacation home for then-Japanese Prince Hirohito and later became a summer retreat and the first of Chiang’s 27 residences.
The city government opened the place to the public in 2000 after restoration work, and the chateau remained a popular site until a fire burned down the main exhibition hall and its exhibits in April 2007.
Department of Cultural Affairs Commissioner Cheng Mei-hua (鄭美華) said all the exhibits inside the chateau — including replicas of clothes, pictures and documents belonging to Chiang and his wife, Soong Mayling (蔣宋美齡) — were remade during the renovation process.
Visitors will be able to see the place as it was before the fire damage, Cheng said.
The reconstruction of the chateau cost about NT$37 million (US$1.2 million), according to the department.
According to manager of the chateau, Huang Chiu-ping (黃秋萍), the chateau will be open every Tuesday through Sunday from 11am to 9pm.
In addition to exhibitions on the Chiang couple’s clothes and documents, as well as other artworks, visitors can also taste delicacies in the restaurant.
Entry to the chateau is free until March. Thereafter, the entrance fee will be about NT$30, she said.