Please read Hong Kong Part 1 – The Cultural Experience!
Next in the exploration order — History!
From country’s foundation till its handover in 1997, Hong Kong’s history has century and a half long chapter of British colonisation with brief Japanese occupation in between.
Ultra-modern, highly industrious international metropolis that Hong Kong is today, behind its swish look, still holds some finest pointers to its colonial past. We needed some guidance to make sense out of these historical links, so we booked a “Historical walking tour of Hong Kong” on viator.com.
Can’t say how far we succeeded in connecting the dots but it was pleasure to see the city from completely different perspective.
A quick repertoire of our choicest finds from the walking tour.
Day 2: A leisurely walk into Hong Kong’s history
Humble beginning.. Deities from a religious procession on the street.
We began at the old, run down, concrete block building on Des Voeux Road that didn’t looked like historical landmark at all. That was Central Market. Place that endured strings of modifications – location changes, structural changes and name changes over the period of time. Place that used to be the largest meat market in Southeast Asia once upon a time but not anymore..
Building was mostly empty with few shops running along the corridor. Some really brave people sold these, over there:
Another old building on the same street but looking way better than the previous one with impressive brick work, an Edwardian style structure – Western Market. Some lamp exhibition was held on its ground floor, on the occasion of Lantern Festival celebration. Building still has some curio shops, eateries and art and craft shops.
Two buildings – one that lost its utilitarianism with changing time. Another, changed with changing time and reinvented its purpose.
We took short break at one of the local park. Pond inside park was over-populated with cute little turtles crawling on each other in a hurry to bask in the sun.
From the local park, we emerged into Hollywood Road which is also of historical importance. It was the second road built post colonization in Hong Kong.
In olden days European merchants used to put up stalls on this road to sell off their collections from China before heading back to their homelands. Since then this road is into antique’s business and it’s even today.
On Hollywood road, there is century old Man Mo Temple. The temple of God Man Tai – God of literature and war. Temple was full of huge incense spirals hanging from the roof making scented swirls of haze. Looking at the growing sizes of incense sticks in the temples around Hong Kong, it seems that aroma has a great influence in Chinese culture.
And that’s wish tree at the temple entrance, full of pink ribbons with wishes written in Cantonese.
The Fringe club, dairy farm depot that served as a centralised cold storage for milk and dairy products long before refrigerators came along. It now houses a theater and runs art exhibitions for upcoming artists.
From Fringe Club’s end, we dawdled down the Duddell street. A quaint old street with a flight of granite steps from mid 19th century. Street has famous gas-powered street lamps. There are only four of them left in the city now.. including this one .. ↓
Honestly the tour content were good but somewhere I felt that our guide couldn’t do justice with it. The compilation lacked the detailing, the interest and the elements to uphold curiosity. It was more of a Q&A. At one point, during the break at Flagstaff house, the Scottish couple who was there along with us lost their patience and wanted to escape silently. We thought so too but decided to continue anyway.
Legislative Council building, the Cenotaph, Statue Square, the Court of Final Appeal Building etc.. a long long walk continued.. through Central, around Central, Admiralty(the extended Central)..
And somewhere along came this artistic trouvaille — magnificent the “Great Motherland of China” – staggering 16 storey high landscape silk painting in the atrium of Island Shangri-La.
Our tiny little camera could barely handle the sprawling beauty ahead of us, our eyes neither.
Full image borrowed from Wikipedia ↓
Trolling the streets of Hong Kong finally paid off.
We arrived at Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center on the Wan Chai waterfront, the place where Hong Kong handover ceremony took place in 1997. History ended, so did the walking tour.
To be continued.