On a hill in the middle of Taipei, near the Xindian River, there is a cluster of buildings so densely packed that it resembles a real-life version of the urban sprawl in Hayao Miyazaki’s Howl’s Moving Castle. Known as Treasure Hill, the cluster was once to be an illegal shantytown that housed over 200 military families in the 1960s and 1970s. Today, it is a community filled with art and artists.
Because the buildings were so haphazardly constructed, it was met with a lot of opposition by the local city government, who wanted to demolish the entire thing and turn it into a park. Saving Treasure Hill was a controversial ask, but eventually a compromise was reached: the community was renovated and turned into an artist village.
Today, Treasure Hill is an incubator for both international and local art. Only about two dozen families still reside in the area, while the rest of it has been converted into artist spaces with a handful of studios, residency programs, and a hostel. Fortunately, the town still proudly retains much of the original chaos that made it so charming.
With winding alleyways and vegetation growing out the cracks, it’s a quaint place to just stroll around. There are large fortune-cookie statues in the open spaces, elaborate wall murals, boutique shops, and a handful of coffee shops to linger around in.
Know Before You Go
The closest MRT stop is Gongguan station, and it’s about a 10 minute walk from there.