Taipei is the capital and a special municipality of Taiwan (officially the Republic of China, ROC). Located in Northern Taiwan, Taipei City is an enclave of the municipality of New Taipei City that sits about 25 km (16 mi) southwest of the northern port city of Keelung. Most of the city rests on the Taipei Basin, an ancient lakebed. The basin is bounded by the relatively narrow valleys of the Keelung and Xindian rivers, which join to form the Tamsui River along the city's western border. The city proper is home to an estimated population of 2,646,204, forming the core part of the Taipei–Keelung metropolitan area, which includes the nearby cities of New Taipei. The name "Taipei" can refer either to the whole metropolitan area or the city proper.
The cultures of Taipei, Taiwan are a hybrid blend from various sources, incorporating elements of traditional Chinese culture, attributable to the historical and ancestral origin of the majority of its current residents, Japanese culture, traditional Confucianist beliefs, and increasingly Western values.
Taipei is one of the world's top tourist destinations. Taipei 101 is a 101-floor landmark skyscraper that claimed the title of world's tallest building when it opened in 2004, a title it held for six years before relinquishing it to the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Designed by C.Y. Lee & Partners and constructed by KTRT Joint Venture, Taipei 101 measures 509 m (1,670 ft) from ground to top, making it the first skyscraper in the world to break the half-kilometre mark in height. Built to withstand typhoon winds and earthquake tremors, its design incorporates many engineering innovations and has won numerous international awards. Taipei 101 remains one of the tallest skyscrapers in the world and holds LEED's certification as the world's largest "green" building. Its shopping mall and its indoor and outdoor observatories draw visitors from all over the world. Taipei 101's New Year's Eve fireworks display is a regular feature of international broadcasts.
Ximending has been a famous area for shopping and entertainment since the 1930s. Historic structures include a concert hall, a historic cinema, and the Red House Theatre. Modern structures house karaoke businesses, art film cinemas, wide-release movie cinemas, electronic stores, and a wide variety of restaurants and fashion clothing stores. The pedestrian area is especially popular with teens and has been called the "Harajuku" of Taipei.
Taipei maintains an extensive system of parks, green spaces, and nature preserves. Parks and forestry areas of note in and around the city include Yangmingshan National Park, Taipei Zoo and Da-an Forest Park. Yangmingshan National Park is famous for its cherry blossoms, hot springs, and sulfur deposits. It is the home of famous writer Lin Yutang, the summer residence of Chiang Kai-shek, residences of foreign diplomats, the Chinese Culture University, the meeting place of the now defunct National Assembly of the Republic of China, and the Kuomintang Party Archives. The Taipei Zoo was founded in 1914 and covers an area of 165 hectares for animal sanctuary.