The Overgrown Entrance to Longxing Theater 隆興戲院

Shifen Luxing Theater 十分陸興戲院

Lùxìng Theater 陸興戲院 was one of the very first abandoned buildings I explored in Taiwan after arriving back in 2013. I had only been in Taipei for about a week when I took a day trip out to Pingxi, a popular tourist destination in New Taipei, and disembarked from the train at Shífēn Station (十分車站) on a whim. Everyone else on the train had the same idea—which meant the narrow street leading east to Shifen Waterfall (十分大瀑布), reputedly one of finest in the Greater Taipei Area (and my intended destination), was immediately overwhelmed with pedestrian traffic.

Longxing Theater 隆興戲院
The ruins of an old movie theater just behind the bustling Shifen Old Street in Pingxi. Two small ticket windows can be seen near the entrance.
The Overgrown Entrance to Longxing Theater 隆興戲院
At the entrance to the old movie theater. When I shot these photos I had no idea what I was looking at.
The Answer in the Mirror
Just a bunch of junk piled around the entrance, is it? Well, if you look closely, you might be able to discern the name of the theater written on the mirror leaning against the wall…

Opting for a more serene route I ducked down an alleyway and soon find myself wandering backroads lined with buildings in various states of disrepair. One of these crumbling ruins was open to the street so I stepped inside and had a look around. What was this place, I wondered? A factory, perhaps? But I had no experience in the ruins of Taiwan, nor could I read any Chinese at that time, so I really wasn’t sure what this place might have been. Not knowing any better, I dubbed this place the “House of Green Shoes”, naming it after the unusual amount of footwear that had been discarded inside. This is the name under which one of these photos originally appeared on this site in 2014.

Discarded Video Game Machines
Discarded video game machines litter the interior. There’s a cramped balcony level up there, if you look closely.

Fast forward to 2017. While perusing old posts I breezed by the original version of this piece with its single photograph and unresolved mystery. Stopping to take a closer look, my eyes widened in surprise, as I immediately recognized the distinctive pattern of staggered holes on the projection room. I wouldn’t have known about it while I was there—but those notches were cut for twin projectors. This place was formerly a movie theater!

The House of the Green Shoes
This is the only photo previously shared here. Initially I thought it was just a room full of junk, but now that I’ve made many forays into the abandoned theaters of Taiwan the telltale signs of the projection room on the far wall are unmistakable.
Inside the Projector Room at Longxing Theater 隆興戲院
Inside what remains of the projection room. At the time I just assumed someone had been living up here—and maybe some had been!

A closer look at the photos I shot revealed the name of the theater—which was there all along, written on the mirror outside the entrance—but not much of its history1. Obviously it was built for the many miners who used to work in these mountains, an assumption corroborated by a lone article2 mentioning the theater by name. I’d wager it was a mining company theater, probably built in the mid-1960s with the opening of the New Pingxi Coal Mine (新平溪煤礦), now the Taiwan Coal Mine Museum (台灣煤礦博物館). That article mentions the theater has been “abandoned” for 50 years (已廢棄約五十年), but perhaps that’s when it was built. Most of the mines in this part of Taiwan closed in the late 1980s, with the very last going out of business in 1997, so it’s reasonable to assume this theater likely shut down in the early 1990s at the very latest. I strongly suspect it was operated by the mining company itself so there’s always a chance they were showing films long into the twilight of mining operations. I’ve uncovered only a handful of references to this old theater online. Two of the better articles (with more information about Shifen in general) can be found here and here, but neither of these contain additional information about the old theater.

Shifen Luxing Theater 十分陸興戲院 2023
The exterior of Luxing Theater in March 2023.

I revisited this theater in March 2023, nearly a decade after I first stumbled upon it, completely ignorant of what I had found. This time around I was armed with some foreknowledge, as Josh Ellis had informed me about the state of the interior. Some effort has obviously been undertaken to clean out much of the building—gone were all the video game consoles, discarded shoes, and plenty of other junk. Some of the wooden paneling had also been stripped from the base of the projection room. And there was no sign of the mirror emblazoned with the name of the theater that I, with some serendipity, happened to photograph on my first visit. Any newcomer to the site would find it impossible to name this place based on physical evidence alone.

Ticket Booth at Shifen Luxing Theater
A closer look at the heavily weathered ticket booth.
Projection Booth at Shifen Luxing Theater
Looking back at the projection room, supported only by a pair of spindly columns.
Overgrown Interior of Shifen Luxing Theater
A green glow pervades the former seating area, which is now heavily overgrown.

Although much of the front of the theater had been tidied up, nature had other ideas for the area at the back. Here the rooftop collapsed, and with sunlight streaming in, plant life had colonized much of the former seating area. While most Taiwanese cinemas of this vintage had fully vaulted roofing, this one is a peculiar hybrid of reinforced concrete, with only the last third of the structure open to the elements. At this point it would still be possible to restore the building and transform it into a tourist attraction of some kind, but I’ve seen no indication such a fate has been contemplated by the townspeople.

For reference, here’s the original photo I posted, from back when I was much less disciplined with post-processing…

The house of the green shoes
An abandoned building in Pingxi filled with green shoes and fake plastic flowers.

Here I’ll sign off by echoing my original sentiments about the “house of the green shoes”: it truly was the first of many more explorations to come.

  1. Initially I transcribed the characters on the mirror as Lóngxìng Theater 隆興戲院, which agreed with other sources I consulted on the web. More recently local history buffs surmised that the theater was actually named after one of the landlord’s six sons (or rather, to encourage those six songs to bring riches to the family), and the first character most of us had identified was not quite right. For reference, this thread on Facebook is where the correction was made, and it was later backed up by The Thief of Places, and, if you dig a little more, a comment on this video from someone claiming to be a grandchild of the founder. 
  2. Now offline and long lost, unfortunately. 


  • 3.0: updated with new photos from a visit in March 2023.
  • 2.2: I've received credible reports that the interior of this old theater has been stripped. Not much remains apart from the outer shell of the structure nowadays.
  • 2.1: updated the name of the theater; see footnotes.
  • 2.0: finally identified this as a theater.


  1. Hi Alexander, I don’t see green shoes properly in the picture. I guess they are littered to the far left side of the picture.

    I have seen your other photos and I am really in love with the quality of your pics. From your work, it can be seen that you are thoroughly experienced and professional photographer. I wanted to ask you a question.

    Are these photos of yours available for web posting? If I decide to post some of your pics on my personal sites, are they available under creative common license or are they available for certain cost?

    Let me know soon.



  2. Hi Vishal! It’s subtle but the green shoes are strewn all around the right side of the photo. As for licensing, there’s a section under “Image Info” above that will direct you to my terms of use. Hopefully this answers your questions!

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