The Treasure Hill Artist Village (寶藏巖國際藝術村) is located in Taipei Gongguan close to the Xindian River (新店溪). Originally the Artist Village was an illegal settlement founded by Kuomintang military veterans in the end of the 1940s. It also served as an anti-aircraft position. In the 1980s the entire settlement area was included into the Water Front Area Park, and should be demolished. Due to protests from community activists and artist groups the original plans were abandoned and the place was transformed into the Artist Village, which opened in 2010.
I live around the corner and know this place from passing by, but actually I never went into the village. Recently I wanted to try my Minolta MD W.Rokkor 24mm f/2.8 lens and decided to go there to have a look, and I was quite surprised about this place. The old houses are crowded on the hill slope, narrow pathways between them, and via steep stairways you reach the higher parts of the village. There is plenty of artwork, nice and cute decoration, and interesting people to see. It has very unique feel and it is probably the only place in Taipei, where you can still find this kind of settlement. It is a bit comparable to the old, small villages along the Mediterranean coast. The mix of old houses, art work, narrow streets, stairs, and the view from the hill, gives a lot of interesting subjects for photography. Sometimes it is not easy to tell what is art and what not. You will see later in my photos what I mean 😉 It is also a good place for portrait photography. You can find many interesting backgrounds. I spend a few hours there and explored the place. And there are so many places to go and things to see, that I will go back again soon. The settlement looks smaller than it actually is.
The best time to go is during late afternoon. The hill is facing to the south and you will have nice warm sunlight. I haven’t experienced a sunset there, but I imagine it could give you very nice light. As for most nice and popular places in Taipei it can be very crowded, so better go during a weekday and avoid weekends or public holidays. On the day when I was there, it was pretty crowded and then it is not fun to go around taking photos.
The Artist Village can be reached by car (there is a parking lot nearby) or by MRT (Gongguan Station on green line), but taking a bike along the riverside and stopping here is the best way. It is open Tuesdays to Sundays from 11am till 10pm. Individual studios might have different opening times. The entrance is free. A map of the location can be found at the end of this post. Here is the Artist Village webpage with further information in Chinese and English: http://www.artistvillage.org
All photos are made with the Olympus OM-D E-M10 and Minolta MD W.Rokkor 24mm f/2.8.
Pagoda in Treasure Hill Village seen from the river side.
Treasure Hill Artist Village seen from the riverside. The large meadow at the foot of the hill is a popular spot to relax, picnic, make music or watch the sunset.
The ‘main’ street of the village.
Artwork near the entrance to the village.
The red chairs seems to be some kind of artwork to me. You can find several of them in remote places in the village.
Here I am not sure if this is a regular hydrant or artwork.
“Ist das Kunst oder kann das weg?”
View from the hill to Yonghe or Zhonghe on the other riverside.
Nicely decorated house. Artists live and work in the village. You can also rent a guest house and stay there for some time.