Saturday, July 24, 2010

Then and Now: Ximen Circle (西門圓環), Taipei


Since the end of World War II, Taipei's Ximending district (西門町) has been one of the city's largest retail and entertainment hubs, as well as a major center of local youth culture. The neighborhood is one of few places in Taiwan to have retained its Japanese colonial period name, literally "west gate town," owing to its location immediately outside of Taipei's western walls. Though the city walls were dismantled in 1905, Ximending's main entrance continues to face the major intersection that has replaced the western gate, long known as Ximen Circle.

The intersection underwent an enormous reconfiguration during the 1990s, which included the conversion of the traffic circle into a single, essentially four-way crossing, replacing the central plaza with smaller ones along the edges, one of which is shown above. The Ximen Taipei Metro station opened in 1999, and has consistently been one of the most heavily used stops in the system.

Original photo: Carpenter, N. "Looking back at the traffic circle in the opposite direction." 1970. Shulinkou Air Station. 23 Jul. 2010.

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