Every city has its unique history, and what often makes a city great and special is the amount of history that it preserves. Every piece of history tells the unique story of a place, and it reflects the spirit of a certain period of time. While Taipei is not short of historic landmarks, I find the history of Bopiliao particularly fascinating in its own way.
Located in the heart of Wanhua District, Bopiliao represents Taipei’s rich history of commerce. Credit to Taipei City Government’s efforts to preserve the originality of the centuries-old architectures, visitors have the luxury to witness the trace of Wanhua’s glorious past. The neighborhood’s name is derived from Taiwanese, meaning the place to peel off tree barks. Historic evidence shows that the approximately four-block historic district was once a busy commercial center during the Japanese colonial era.
Since I am a die-hard history enthusiast, I was instantly attracted to the antique buildings and historic atmosphere during my first visit. The mix of Baroque and Taiwanese style architecture suggests the neighborhood was once the symbol of wealth and prosperity in Taipei. As I paced through the narrow alleys between two rows of red-brick houses, I imagined how the area would look like back in the days, when it was filled with all kind s of vendors and shops. The serenity that now takes over this neighborhood makes it a perfect place to do a time travel in my head.
However, Bipoliao isn’t merely the to-go place for history enthusiasts like me. Its well-preserved historic environment also attracted several TV shows and movies, including the blockbuster movie Monga, to be filmed here. As a result, Bopiliao suddenly becomes a popular place among young adults who are madly in love with the movie, or to put it more precisely, its actors.
Whether it’s the love for history or pop culture, Bopiliao helps to shine a light on an often ignored and overlooked corner in Taipei. And most importantly, the value of Wanhua and its importance to Taipei’s history of development can finally be justified through this piece of living history.