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Taipei City inspects historic Yuanshan tunnel

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Taipei City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) yesterday invited domestic cultural experts to examine the historic 115-meter-long Yuanshan Tunnel, which is located in Yuanshan Park (圓山公園), and said it plans to register the tunnel to become a part of the Taipei City Museum.

Liu Yi-chang (劉益昌), one of the members of Taipei's Cultural Heritage Committee, said that during World War II, Taiwan's Japanese occupiers built many underground passages, and after the Republic of China reclaimed Taiwan, the military reinforced the construction of the tunnels and utilized them as strategy centers.

Yuanshan Tunnel, which lies in the heart of a mountain near the Taipei's Children Recreation Center (台北市立兒童育樂中心), was one of those strategy centers, Liu said. The explosion-proof walls that surrounded the tunnel and its hidden entrances are proof that Yuanshan Tunnel served as a strategy center, he added.

DCA Commissioner Liu Wei-gong (劉維公) said the Taipei's Children Recreation Center had applied to register Yuanshan Tunnel as a cultural heritage site in accordance with the Cultural Heritage Preservation Act.

Jin Kuang-yu (金光裕), a member of the Taipei Cultural Heritage Committee, said even though the tunnel was deserted for decades, it is nevertheless well-ventilated and not too humid. Jin said the committee is planning to bolster air-ventilation facilities in the tunnel and to remake the tunnel's rooms into exhibition spaces.

Jin said that the Taipei City Government has scheduled the site's public opening for October 2014, and noted that as part of plans to reutilize Yuanshan Tunnel, the city will screen videos that illustrate Taiwan's history on the walls of the tunnel's rooms.

Taipei City Museum

Liu Wei-gong said that the DCA hopes to reutilize Yuanshan Tunnel as part of the Taipei City Museum. He further explained that the Taipei City Museum will be a cluster of cultural places throughout the city, including Yuanshan Cultural Heritage (圓山遺址), Yuanshan Site Exhibition Room (圓山景觀復育展示室), Taipei Literature Museum, and the Yuanshan tunnel.

The Commissioner said that as Taipei has been selected as the 2016 World Design Capital (WDC), it is essential for the city to incorporate more cultural creativity into its current urban development plan. Liu said the upcoming clustered Taipei City Museum could be an example of integrating new designs and cultural heritages.

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Host of several shows on the Travel and Living TV channel (TLC) Samantha Brown, second right, TLC host Janet Hsieh, first right, and Tourism Bureau Deputy Director-General Wayne Liu (劉喜臨) pose for a photo at Yuanshan Tunnel, yesterday in Taipei.

(CNA)

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