Aiming to promote, preserve, and redefine Taiwan’s traditional arts through both static and dynamic exhibits, the National Center for Traditional Arts (NCFTA國立傳統藝術中心) was established in 2002 in Yilan County in northeastern Taiwan by the Ministry of Culture.
Covering an area of 59 acres (24 hectares), the NCFTA is a complex composed of traditional, modern, and outdoor theaters, an exhibition center, a traditional temple, a handicraft artist studio, a music hall, a folk art street, and an accommodation area.
Please watch the following video of the Taiwan’s National Center for Traditional Arts:
The modern red-brick buildings with traditional rooftops and red lanterns hanging over the narrow Folk Art Boulevard were constructed in traditional Southern Fujien and Baroque architectural styles, which creates an atmosphere that takes visitors back to an earlier time in Taiwan.
There are scores of shops on the two sides of the Boulevard where one can find and purchase a wide variety of intricate handicrafts and souvenirs with a touch of history, such as decorative gems, silks, rainbow jade vases, local musical instruments, soaps, traditional toys, sweets, clothing, umbrellas, fans, and art brushes. Some of the shops also offer DIY programs on the spot.
A trip to NCFTA would not be complete without watching a live performance. The traditional performances at the outdoor stage in front of Wen-Chang Temple near the riverbank, which are living vignettes of Taiwan’s past, always attract the attention of visitors, .
Situated in the center of NCFTA, Guang-Hsiao Shrine (廣孝堂) was built in 1924 as the family shrine of the Cheng Clan in Yilan. It was later moved to the current site as an information center providing information about travel in Yilan. The building retains much of its original architectural style, which was borrowed heavily from Cantonese and Chaozhou buildings.
Another striking display is a 64.5-meter-long fish-shaped tunnel composed of 1,500 traditional red lanterns on the bank of the pond. During the daytime, it looks like a giant red fish swinging its tail in the wind. In the evening, the tunnel is like a large golden fish swimming in the water of the pond.
Built in 1877, the Huang Chu-jen residence (黃舉人宅) was the home of the fourth wife of Huang Tsan-shu (黃纘緒,1817-1893), a native of Yilan, who was the first Chu-jen (a degree one obtained after passing the Imperial Examination at the highest level) in the Yilan area. The quadrangle was originally situated in the downtown area, but was moved to the current location when the city government implemented a redevelopment plan.
Since the National Center for Traditional Arts is situated along the Dongshan River, visitors can take a boat ride from NCFTA to the Dongshan River Water Park (冬山河親水公園). The boats plying between NCFTA and Dongshan River Park are unique. Not only are they solar powered, but the height of the roofs on the boats are also adjustable to clear the bridge at the Dongshan River Water Park.
The motors run quiet and don’t cause pollution. It’s a great experience to enjoy the beautiful scenery on board while cruising down the Dongshan River.