Major cities in Taiwan are rich in samples of traditional Chinese, Japanese and Western architecture, as well as many hybrid forms that violate all the standard classifications. An excellent sample of Chinese mansion architecture is Lin Family Gardens, which were built in 1893 and are now fully restored. Consisting of a central building, surrounded by exquisitely terraced landscapes, the design of this estate reflects the elegant lifestyle of the nobility of Taiwan. Taiwan is also rich in examples of temple architecture. Many of the temples were built during the Qing Dynasty. The common features of these temples are exquisitely sculpted columns with dragons, gracefully curved up roof ends, and intricate patterns. The true treasure of the temple architecture is the Temple Lung-Shan in Taipei, which is a real sanctuary of Buddhist and Taoist arts.
Samples of Chinese architecture combine the extensive use of white marble and elegant roof contours imitating the Temple of Heaven in Beijing. The Memorial Hall was built in the spirit of the Chinese palace architecture. This high and spacious facility can accommodate up to three thousand people.
Of particular interest are the traditional and public holidays, regularly held in the country. Among them one can mention the Chinese New Year, the Lantern Festival - the first full moon in the new year, when millions of lanterns are lit across the country to escort into another world the souls of ancestors, who came down to the earth to their loved ones to celebrate New Year's Day.
On these days almost all the buildings, city squares, and streets are decorated in a traditional style, with numerous fireworks and parades, music, dances and ceremonies held across the country. The best place, giving the feeling of Chinese hospitality is in the countless restaurants, where you can taste everything. Taiwan, no doubt, is the capital of traditional Chinese cuisine, formed under the influence of immigrants from practically every corner of China. You will be offered a boiled fish from Zhejiang, Hunan pepper dishes, spicy cuisine of Sichuan, Beijing roast duck, light seafood dishes typical of most of Taiwan and, of course, rice as the main ingredient in a variety of delicacies.
Coming to Taiwan in summer, one can see the street puppet show as one of the earliest forms of popular entertainment in Taiwan. Ingenious technique of manual animation, sound imitations, and narrative plots create a mesmerizing spectacle, while retaining their inherent former religious significance. Along with hand puppets, old-fashioned shadow puppets and marionettes will also delight the modern audience.
Performances of the shadow puppets are held usually in summer to celebrate the abundant harvest, while the puppet shows are a kind of blessing, which protects from evil spirits.
Numerous species of birds and butterflies give the park extra flavor. In the southern part of the island, there is the Kenting National Park, located at the southernmost tip of Taiwan, in the only tropical coast. This park is known for its coral reefs, unique monsoon, and tropical forests. Although the national parks provide excellent opportunities for hiking, admission too many mountain areas requires a special permit. Non-residents of Taiwan need to obtain permission for access to the mountains and should contact the police department.