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Cool Kaohsiung
Picture taking is a must at the Weiwuying Street Art Village.

Cool Kaohsiung

Ida Anita Q. Del Mundo (The Philippine Star) - June 30, 2019 - 12:00am

Visitors to Taiwan are no doubt familiar with the traditional lantern flying, exploring the usual old streets and sampling delicious food at the numerous night markets.

MANILA, Philippines — What most might not know is that there is a whole other side to Taiwan that is cool, hip and artsy – all located in the southern region of the country, in Kaohsiung.

In Kaohsiung, even the train station has art. The Kaohsiung MRT transfer station is turned into a cathedral of sorts with its stained glass artwork, Dome of Light, that spans the whole ceiling, emanating from two glowing central columns.

Created by renowned artist Narcissus Quagliata, the dome is the world’s largest public art installation made from colored glass at 30-meters in diameter, covering an area of 660 square meters.

The Dome of Life brings art to the daily commute.

The work of art took some four years to complete and was shipped from Germany for installation in Kaohsiung. The work of art takes viewers through the mystical journey of human life. The piece brings together the elements of water, earth, light and fire, to send the message of love and tolerance soaring over the heads of travelers making their way through the station, bringing art to commuters’ lives.

Not to be outdone, Weiwuying is easily the coolest place in Kaohsiung, bringing vibrant art into the everyday with its Street Art Village, where bright and colorful works by international street artists are found at every corner. Be ready to spend a good hour or so here because you will surely want to stop and marvel and take pictures at every turn.

In 2012, the Kaohsiung city council started its initiative to support public art by declaring Jiuru Street as Kaohsiung’s first designated legal graffiti area, giving birth to the Jiuru Street Art Factory, a street art haven out of an abandoned train station.

The Weiwuying Street Art Village was once a military barracks.

Since then, the street art movement has expanded to include Pier 2 Arts Center and Fengshan District, all in support of Kaohsiung’s mission to become the world’s first street art city.

The Weiwuying Street Art Village, located in Lingya District, is the largest village of murals in Taiwan and was once a drab military barracks which turned out to be the best canvas for street artists from Belgium, Spain, Brazil, Thailand, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Italy and more.

Across the street from the street art village is the Weiwuying Cultural Center, a 66-hectare site that is home to southern Taiwan’s first international performance art venue. Opened in 2018, the cultural center is the largest performing arts and music hall in East Asia, housing four performance halls, the biggest being a 2,236-seater Opera House; outdoor public spaces including an amphitheater; and more, all under an elaborate roof inspired by local banyan trees.

An artist paints the side of a repurposed shipping container at KUBIC.

As your day in Kaohsiung ends, forget the usual night market, though Kaohsiung has its share of traditional night haunts, chock full of delicious eats and treats like pineapple cake and milk tea.

Instead, head over to KUBIC, a shopping and lifestyle complex made up of huge shipping containers. Short for Kaohsiung Urban Boxes, Innovation and Creative, these are the elements present in the experimental community space.

The young people of Kaohsiung chill here, skateboarding, enjoying the fresh air and the occasional DJ performances and doing impromptu photoshoots with the art installations that are scattered all around the area.

Every surface becomes a canvas at Weiwuying.

The shops offer unique items and trendy pieces. The laid back vibe embodies the creative spirit of the youthful community of the ever-progressing city.

Cap your visit with a virtual adventure at i-Ride Experience Center, a newly-opened flying theater at Kaohsiung Software Park.

Here, visitors get to fly over Kaohsiung in a 5D experience – you do not only get to enjoy the sights and sounds, but also get splashed with water as you soar over a speedboat in the sea or smell the aroma of spice-laden delicacies cooking in the night market.

The ride is developed by Brogent Technologies, which was founded in 2001 and specializes in media-based attractions that integrate software and hardware technology.

Weiwuying Street Art village bursts with color.

The i-Ride weighs the same as a Boeing 747 and works on a system of cables the total length of which exceeds 20 times the height of Taipei 101.

The hemispherical dome screen and large wide-angle projection creates a virtual environment that immerses riders in a surreal experience.

It is a truly magical experience that will give you a glimpse of the dozens of places in Kaohsiung that you definitely must come back to explore.

KAOHSIUNG WEIWUYING STREET ART VILLAGE
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