Slow, methodical movements. As if hearing the sound of time, one beat at a time. Steel heels scrape against the solid ground, adding traces to the worn pathway.

Each hour, during business hours, guards exchange duties along the entrance. Martyr’s Shrine in Taipei, Taiwan has become a tourist destination. The display of synchronized heel clicks and rifle movements is one attraction. Following guards as they walk from shrine to entrance, is another.

 

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Many attempt to cause a break in the guard’s unblinking faces as they stand posted in complete stillness. During hot summer days, assistants to the shrine will wipe the sweat from the guard’s runny faces.

Guards on duty at this particular shrine remain for a year, and then no more. Male Taiwanese citizens only may apply.

The Martyr’s Shrine was built in 1969 to remember those who gave their lives fighting in the Chinese Civil War. The Kuomintang soldiers basically created the Taiwan we know today as they settled their own people on the island.

Walking through the grounds is meditative. Smaller, decorative shrines branch off from the main path. Manicured along the paths are lush shrubs and trees.

The main shrine stands grand, with long, red wood pillars and an elegant bow-shaped roof. Deep forest green and white paint force the red accents to pop beautifully. Large doors humble your entrance.

 

 

All images taken with either a Leica SL or Leica Q camera.

Images marked with ***** are taken by Matthew Nordman