I love outdoor museums, especially if they’re a complete and utter surprise to my day. One of my favorite outdoor museums is the Japanese Farmhouse Museum that we visited in Osako, Japan in 2008. It’s been a while since I’ve been to an open-air museum, so you can imagine my delight when John took me for a surprise visit this weekend to see Lin An Tai Historical House and Museum in Taipei’s Zhongshan District.
In the seven years that I’ve lived in Taipei, I had no idea that this beautiful home even existed! That just goes to show you that there is always something waiting to be discovered in Taiwan, even in your own backyard!
Lin An Tai Historical House and Museum
The Lin family moved from Anxi County, Fujian Province in mainland China to Taiwan in 1754, but it wasn’t until they had made a success of their family business that they were able to begin building their dream home in 1783. Construction on the main building of the Lin An Tai homestead began that year and it continued at No 141 Siwei Road near Dunhua South Road in Taipei from the 48th through 50th years of the Qianlong Period during the Qing Dynasty. The side buildings were completed many years later in 1822 through 1823. The homestead was named after Anxi County and Rong Tai Company, which was the name of the family business. It is one of the oldest houses in existence in Taipei today.
The five-building Fujianese-style home boasts a stunning 2-story home with a traditional Chinese courtyard, complete with a pond, arched bridge, stepping stones, intricate carvings, and several pavilions, including a moonlit pavilion that is perched atop an artificial mountain with a waterfall. At night, the pavilion is reflected in the waters of the pond along with the reflection of the moon and stars. The entire complex is designed to reflect the harmony of nature and life. Flowers and plants, including Chinese favorites such as bamboo, plum trees, peonies (my favorite) and pine trees, have all been included in the landscape. There isn’t a single detail missing from this beautiful home. It looks like it comes straight out of an ancient Chinese painting.
In 1978, it was recommended that Lin An Tai be listed as a historical site, but the idea was rejected because of the city’s plans to widen the roads in the area. Rather than see the site demolished, it was decided that the homestead be reconstructed at a different location. Today it stands in the northern Zhongshan District near Keelung River. The site was opened to the public in 2oo0. Shortly thereafter, the courtyard was extended, the pavilions where added and the and the area became an official exhibition hall at the Taipei International Flora Exposition in 2010.
Lin An Tai Historical House and Museum is located at 5 Binjiang St., Zhongshan District, Taipei City, Taiwan. It is open daily except Mondays and folk holidays (Chinese New Year, Tomb Sweeping Festival, Dragon Boat Festival and Mid-Autumn Festival), 9 AM-9 PM (5 PM on Sundays). Admission is free.
The museum is within walking distance of Xinsheng Park. If you’re traveling by MRT, go to Yuanshan Station Exit 1 and then take bus 222 to Xinsheng Park.
Taiwan Government Website –
Lin An Tai Old Homestead