Victoria Peak

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Victoria Peak
(Chinese) 太平山
A wooded mountain with tall antennas around its summit and medium-height buildings below it. There is a tree on the left of the image, and on the right the mountain slopes down to an area next to water with some taller buildings.
Summit of Victoria Peak, seen from Findlay Road
Elevation 552 m (1,811 ft)
Location
Victoria Peak(Chinese) 太平山 is located in Hong Kong
Victoria Peak(Chinese) 太平山
Victoria Peak
(Chinese) 太平山
 Hong Kong
Coordinates 22°16′31.69″N 114°8′37.78″E / 22.2754694°N 114.1438278°E / 22.2754694; 114.1438278Coordinates: 22°16′31.69″N 114°8′37.78″E / 22.2754694°N 114.1438278°E / 22.2754694; 114.1438278

Victoria Peak (Chinese: 太平山, or previously Chinese: 扯旗山) is a mountain in the western half of Hong Kong Island. It is also known as Mount Austin, and locally as The Peak. With an altitude of 552 m (1,811 ft), it is the highest mountain on the island (Tai Mo Shan is the highest point in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region).

The summit is occupied by a radio telecommunications facility and is closed to the public. However, the surrounding area of public parks and high-value residential land is the area that is normally meant by the name The Peak. It is a major tourist attraction that offers views over Central, Victoria Harbour, Lamma Island and the surrounding islands.

History[edit]

The view of Central, Kowloon and Victoria Harbour from Victoria Gap, near the top of Victoria Peak
The Peak Tram approaching the Peak Tower

As early as 19th century, the Peak attracted prominent European residents because of its panoramic view over the city and its temperate climate compared to the sub-tropical climate in the rest of Hong Kong. The sixth Governor of Hong Kong, Sir Richard MacDonnell had a summer residence built on the Peak circa 1868.[1] Those that built houses named them whimsically, such as The Eyrie, and the Austin Arms. See First houses on the Peak.

These original residents reached their homes by sedan chairs, which were carried up and down the steep slope of Victoria Peak. This limited development of the Peak until the opening of the Peak Tram funicular in 1888.[1][2]

The boost to accessibility caused by the opening of the Peak Tram created demand for residences on the Peak. Between 1904 and 1930, the Peak Reservation Ordinance designated the Peak as an exclusive residential area reserved for non-Chinese. They also reserved the Peak Tram for the use of such passengers during peak periods. The Peak remains an upmarket residential area, although residency today is based on wealth.

Tourism[edit]

The Peak Tower from Peak Road. The entrance to the Peak Galleria is to the right.
Hong Kong at night viewed from Victoria Peak observation deck
The road junction at Victoria Gap, next to the Peak Tower. From left to right: Peak Road, the Peak Lookout Restaurant, Harlech Road (with street vendor), Mount Austin Road (with taxi), Lugard Road.
View from Victoria Peak looking north towards Kowloon
1924 map of residences on The Peak

With some seven million visitors every year, the Peak is a major tourist attraction of Hong Kong.[3] It offers spectacular views of the city and its harbours. The viewing deck also has coin operated telescopes that the visitors can use to enjoy the cityscape. The number of visitors led to the construction of two major leisure and shopping centres, the Peak Tower and the Peak Galleria, situated adjacent to each other.

The Peak Tower incorporates the upper station of the Peak Tram, the funicular railway that brings passengers up from the St. John's Cathedral in Hong Kong's Central district, whilst the Peak Galleria incorporates the bus station used by the Hong Kong public buses and green minibuses on the Peak. The Peak is also accessible by taxi and private car via the circuitous Peak Road, or by walking up the steep Old Peak Road from near the Zoological Botanical Gardens.

Victoria Peak Garden is located on the site of Mountain Lodge, the Governor's old summer residence, and is the closest publicly accessible point to the summit. It can be reached from Victoria Gap by walking up Mount Austin Road, a climb of about 150 metres (490 ft). Another popular walk is the level loop along Lugard Road, giving good views of Hong Kong's Central district and Kowloon, and then returning via Harlech Road, encircling the summit at the level of the Peak Tower.[4] There are several restaurants on Victoria Peak, most of which are located in the two shopping centres. However, the Peak Lookout Restaurant, is housed in an older and more traditional building which was originally a spacious house for engineers working on the Peak Tramway. It was rebuilt in 1901 as a stop area for sedan chairs, but was re-opened as a restaurant in 1947. In addition to being a major tourist attraction for Hong Kong, The Peak is also the summit of Hong Kong's property market. At the peak of The Peak, properties are more precious than anywhere else in the world.Most of the super rich in Hong Kong - including Cheung Kong (Holdings) chairman Li Ka-shing and the Kwok brothers of Sun Hung Kai Properties - live in detached houses in Island South or The Peak.

A house at Barker Road (where Hong Kong's most expensive residential buildings are located) sold for HK$1.8 billion last year. At $68,228 per square foot, it is the most expensive location in the world. The buyer is reported to be a Hong Kong billionaire, Lee Shau-kee.

On January 12. 2014, a Barker Road property sold at over HK$100k (US$13k) per square foot for HK$690 million.[5]

Natural history[edit]

The Peak is home to many species of birds, most prominently the Black Kite, and numerous species of butterflies.

Alternative names[edit]

Name Native Cantonese (Jyutping) Etymology
太平山頂 taai3 ping4 saan1 deng2 literally "pacific mountain peak" or "mountain peak of great peace"
山頂 saan1 deng2 literally "mountain top"; corresponds to the English name "The Peak"
扯旗山 ce2 kei4 saan1 literally means "flag-raising mountain"
爐峰 lou4 fung1 literally means "furnace peak"
維多利亞山 wai4 do1 lei6 aa3 saan1 A phonetic transliteration of the English name "Victoria Peak"
柯士甸山 o1 si6 din1 saan1 A phonetic transliteration of the English name "Mount Austin"

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "The Peak History". The Peak. Archived from the original on 7 March 2007. Retrieved 14 March 2007. 
  2. ^ "Peak Tram History". The Peak Hong Kong. Archived from the original on 20 February 2007. Retrieved 13 March 2007. 
  3. ^ DeWolf, Christopher "9 Hong Kong tourist traps -- for better or worse" CNN Go. 27 October 2010. Retrieved 2012-03-03
  4. ^ http://www.thepeak.com.hk/full/en/nature.php
  5. ^ "Hutchison Whampoa completes HK$690m house sale on Peak" South China Morning Post 13 Jan 2014

External links[edit]