Taiwan is known for many astonishing things. Besides being home to the one-time world’s tallest building Taipei 101, which is on the radar of firework lovers every December 31st, Taiwan is famous for delicious street food, night markets, the unique pearl milk tea, amazing mountains and flower farms.
Newly added to the list of amazing places to visit is the Rainbow Village, and its story is remarkable.
Surrounded by high-rising skyscrapers and buildings in a 2.8 million residents city of Taichung, Rainbow Village is a colorful oasis in the concrete jungle.
The village was previously known as one of many “veteran villages” that the government erected between the 1940s and 1950s for Taiwanese veterans returning from mainland China.
These villages were cheaply built and were intended as temporary settlements for to the Kuomintang soldiers.
This specific village was home to 1,200 people, but like many of the veteran villages it started to gradually die out. As residents moved away the investors started to buy the land piece by piece.
In last 20 years, the majority of these settlements disappeared completely because the government was selling off the land to investors to provide more quality housing for a bigger amount of people.
Nowadays, the Rainbow Village only has 11 houses left and a small number of people still living there. Among them is 94-year-old Huang Yung-Fu, a veteran of the Chinese Civil War.
The settlement was recently under threat of being demolished, however, this amazing and creative man saved his peaceful home and the rest of the residents are very grateful for it.
It all began when Yung-Fu started to paint the interior of his home with colorful birds. Upon seeing how it turned out, he took his art outside.
He would wake up every morning at 3 o’clock, take his painting supplies and go outside to paint the houses and the alleys. His art started on the walls, but it soon spilled to windowsills and sidewalks — Huang was unstoppable.
He has painted different motifs, such as animals, dolls, manga characters and airplanes, but all in different vibrant colors. The whole place now looks uniquely magical and surrealistic.
A few years ago, students of Ling Tung University discovered these amazing pieces of art. Gradually, the village started to attract attention both from people living in Taichung and from tourists coming from abroad.
The fact that the village started to become a tourist attraction and the protest of the locals supported by all the people enamored by Yung-Fu’s art deterred the Taiwanese government from demolishing it.
Yung-Fu was thrilled that his art was being praised and that he could save his and homes of his neighbours, but he said that he would continue to do it even when he was 100-years-old and nobody even knew of his art.
Interestingly, he was never an artist, nor did he try any artistic medium, except for his father teaching him how to draw when he was a young child.
Nowadays the Rainbow Village and its creator, often referred to Rainbow Grandpa, is on the map of almost every tourist coming to visit Taiwan.
Once there you would need only 10 to 15 minutes to walk through it and see all the amazing painting around. The encroaching high, modern buildings are proof of the threat the village was under.
The entrance to this magical place is free. As of recently there is a small souvenir shop selling unique handmade goods based on the Rainbow Grandpa’s artwork and run by his grandson.