Kat Hing Wai
Kat Hing Wai (Chinese: 吉慶圍) is a well known Punti walled village in the Yuen Long District of Hong Kong. It is often mistakenly believed to be Hakka, whose people have similar traditions. However the Punti people were from Southern China and the first to settle in Hong Kong. Kat Hing Wai's residents speak the Weitou dialect, a Yue dialect, rather than Hakka. Popularly known as Kam Tin, from the name of the area, the village is home to about 400 descendants of the Tang Clan, one of the "Five Great Clans" of the territory that built the village in the 17th century. Three other walled villages, Wing Lung Wai, Tai Hong Wai (泰康圍), and Kam Hing Wai (錦慶圍) are located nearby and were built around the same time.
The most iconic feature of Kat Hing Wai is its outlook, surrounded by four seven meters high brick walls, originally used to protect from pirates and another clans’invasion. The village area is about eighty-meter square, which have a square shape.
Kat Hing Wai was established during the reign of the Ming Chenghua Emperor (r. 1464–1487). The walls enclosing Kat Hing Wai were built by Tang Chue-yin (鄧珠彥) and Tang Chik-kin (鄧直見) in the early years of the Kangxi reign (1661–1722) of the Qing dynasty.
In April 1899, the residents of Kam Tin rebelled against British Colonial rule. They defended themselves in Kat Hing Wai. After several unsuccessful attacks by British troops, the iron gates were blasted open. The gates were then shipped to London for exhibition. Following demands from the Tang Clan in 1924, the gate was eventually returned in 1925 by the 16th governor, as a celebration, people in Kat Hing Wai hanged a tablet as an account of this incident. Because of this, Kat Hing Wai became a very unique place where have a strong icon in both architectural and historical background to be studied.
Kat Hing Wai is a quasi-rectangular (100 by 90 metres (330 by 300 ft)) walled village. As a family stronghold, Kat Hing Wai has served the Tangs well through the centuries, protecting the residents against bandits, rival clans, and wild tigers. During the Qing dynasty, a five-metre high blue brick wall and four cannon towers were added to defend against bandits. Today, the village is still completely surrounded by 18-inch-thick walls, outside which are the remains of a moat. However, most houses within the walls have been rebuilt in recent years. There is only one narrow entrance, with a pair of iron gates that were once removed to Britain when the villagers rebelled against British colonial rule and of which only one was eventually returned. The current standing gates are a mismatched pair, the left hand side originally belongs to Tai Hong Wai and was given to Kat Hing Wai as a gift upon the gates return.
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- Kat Hing Wai (personal page)