Kowloon Walled City Park

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Kowloon Walled City Park
九龍寨城公園
Kowloon Walled City Park 九龍寨城 02.jpg
Kowloon Walled City Park
Location Kowloon City, Kowloon
Coordinates 22°19′55″N 114°11′24″E / 22.332°N 114.190°E / 22.332; 114.190Coordinates: 22°19′55″N 114°11′24″E / 22.332°N 114.190°E / 22.332; 114.190
Opened 22 December 1995 (1995-12-22)
Operated by Leisure and Cultural Services Department
Open Year round

The Kowloon Walled City Park (traditional Chinese: 九龍寨城公園; simplified Chinese: 九龙寨城公园; pinyin: Jiǔlóng zhài chéng gōngyuán; Jyutping: gau2 lung4 zaai6 seng4 gung1 jyun4<) is a historical park in Hong Kong. The Kowloon Walled City had been a military stronghold since 15th century due to its coastal location and was a centre of vice and crime until 1987. Under the agreement between the Hong Kong Government and the PRC, the Kowloon Walled City was demolished in the 1980s while the indigenous buildings and features were preserved for incorporation in the new park.

The Kowloon Walled City Park is designed as a Jiangnan (江南) garden of the early Qing dynasty. The park, 31,000 square metres in total, is divided into eight theme zones with their own characteristic scenery,[1] matching with the style of the whole park. The design was awarded a Diploma at the IGO Stuttgart EXPO 93 (International Garden Exposition).[2]

History[edit]

In the middle of 19th century, the Qing Government started to build a walled city, which is surrounded by stone walls in Kowloon Bay. The walled city was initially used for military purposes, where it housed many soldiers and their families. During World War II the stone walls were demolished by the Japanese army while part of them were buried and well preserved under the soil.[3]

After WWII, the population of the city had risen to 41,000 by 1970s.[4] The number of buildings was 503 in 1994. The British colonial government could not manage and control the severe crimes related to drugs, illegal gambling, prostitution and quackery in the 70s. Over and above, domestic factories including textile, candy-making and production of Jook-sing noodles (竹昇麵) were situated in this city. After the agreement of the Sino-British Joint Declaration in 1984, Britain and China embarked on the discussion of solving these issues in this city, and subsequently announced the demolition of the City on 14 January 1987. Residents were resettled in 1987 and 1989. The demolition began in 1993.[5]

The site was transformed to a park for nearby residents in 1995.[6] Due to its proximity to the Kai Tak Airport, regulation on the height of buildings was strictly enforced, so the park could have a better open view.

Featured facilities[edit]

The park consists mainly of eight landscape features: the Yamen (衙府), Old South Gate (南門), Eight Floral Walks (八徑異趣), Garden of Four Seasons (四季同馨 - 廣蔭庭), Garden of Chinese Zodiac (生肖倩影 - 童樂苑), Chess Garden (棋壇比弈遊弈園), Mountain View Pavilion (邀山樓) as well as the Fei Sing Pavilion (魁星半亭) and Guibi Rock (歸璧石).[7]

Yamen[edit]

The Yamen in Kowloon Walled City Park

The Yamen (衙府) is located in the centre of the Park and it is the only remaining old Qing building. It was built in 1847 and its interior was dominated by the offices of the Commodore of the Dapeng Brigade (大鵬協府) and the Kowloon Assistant Military Inspectorate (九龍巡檢司衙署). It was designed with three rows and four wings of houses. Its walls and column bases are built from bricks and granite, while the roof is a traditional structure covered with cylindrical and flat tiles. After 1899, the Yamen was used for charitable purposes like home for the elderly named Almshouse. It is now officially classified as a declared monument in Hong Kong. 6 exhibition rooms are housed inside.[8]

Old South Gate[edit]

The Old South Gate in Kowloon Walled City Park

The original site of South Gate (南門) has been designated as a declared monument and all related relics unearthed have been preserved. Flagstone pavement, cornerstones of the buildings, and a drain were discovered. Also, two granite plaques with Chinese characters for "South Gate" and "Kowloon Walled City" were unearthed at the site of the original South Gate when the Walled City was torn down in 1994.[9]

Garden of Chinese Zodiac[edit]

The Garden Of Chinese Zodiac in Kowloon Walled City Park

The Garden features 12 vividly shaped Chinese zodiac sculptures. They are arranged according to the Heavenly Stems (Tiangan 天干) and Earthly Branches (Dizhi 地支) in Chinese astrology.

Guibi Rock and Fui Sing Pavilion[edit]

The Guibi Rock in Kowloon Walled City Park

The Guibi Rock was carved from Taihu Rock (太湖石). It is named Guibi because its veins are similar to those of ancient jade. Fui Sing Pavilion symbolises a constellation of literature and wisdom. Guibi Rock also symbolises the hope of returning Hong Kong to China.

Mountain View Pavilion[edit]

The Mountain View Pavilion in Kowloon Walled City Park

The Mountain View Pavilion provides a fine distant view of the Lion Rock, which resembles a lion sitting with its head facing the Pavilion.

Chess Garden[edit]

The Chess Garden in Kowloon Walled City Park

There are four huge chessboards built on the ground with pebbles for visitors to enjoy a game of chess.

Eight Floral Walks[edit]

The Fragrant Flowers Path in Kowloon Walled City Park

The Eight Floral Walks is a web of paths which connects the distinct landscape features of the Park. Various types of flowers that bloom in different seasons are planted on both sides of the path to accentuate the scenery of the park in all seasons.

Garden of Four Seasons[edit]

The Kwong Yam Square in Kowloon Walled City Park

Located to the west of Yamen, the Kwong Yam Square is a garden where flowers of the four seasons could be seen.[10]

Exhibition[edit]

This exhibition was officially opened for public use on 19 April 2009. It consists of one Outdoor Display Area and six Exhibition Rooms inside the Former Yamen.[11]

The Outdoor Display Area is located near the South Gate which shows a tablet and a model of the Kowloon Walled City.[12] The front of the tablet has an introductory article inscribed whereas the back presents the cross-section of the pre-demolished Kowloon Walled City and the depiction of the daily lives of its residents. Behind the tablet stood a bronze miniature model of the Walled City which allowed the visitors touch and have a closer look at the City.

Six exhibition rooms are located inside the Yamen which illustrate the living environment inside the Walled City through interactive imagery and sound.

Guided tour[edit]

Guided tours are arranged to provide further information about the history of Kowloon Walled City and the features of the Chinese Garden within the park. Tours are conducted for groups and park visitors for free. The duration of the tour is around 45 minutes with around 30 visitors per tour. Tours also give reference to the park and give detailed explanations of certain exhibits and notice boards[13]

Opening hours[edit]

The park is open from 6:30 am to 11:00 pm daily. The exhibition rooms open daily from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm every day except on Wednesday.[14]

Transportation[edit]

Visitors arriving via Exit B2 of Lok Fu Station of the MTR's Kwun Tong Line can either walk for 10 minutes or take the 39M minibus to Tung Tau Tsuen Road.[15]

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ [ History/Background. (n.d.). Retrieved March 14, 2015, from http://www.lcsd.gov.hk/en/parks/kwcp/index.html]
  2. ^ [Design of the Park. (n.d.). Retrieved March 14, 2015, from http://www.lcsd.gov.hk/en/parks/kwcp/design.html]
  3. ^ [History/Background. (n.d.). Retrieved March 14, 2015, from http://www.lcsd.gov.hk/en/parks/kwcp/index.html]
  4. ^ [魯金 <<九龍寨城史話>> P.24 三聯書店(香港)有限公司 Lu, J. (1988). Jiulongcheng zhai shi hua (Xianggang di 1 ban. ed.). Hong Kong: Joint Publishing (Hong Kong) Limited. ISBN 962-04-0682-6]
  5. ^ Ng, Kang-Chung (24 March 1993). "First blow landed as the walls come tumbling down". South China Morning Post. p. 1. 
  6. ^ [Hong Kong Yearbook 1996, (1996), Government Printing Bureau of Hong Kong, Entertainment, Sports and Arts, P.331]
  7. ^ [Brochure from Leisure and Cultural Services Department, (2015), Kowloon Walled City Park Exhibition Guide, Hong Kong, Leisure and Cultural Services Department]
  8. ^ The Kowloon Walled City Park
  9. ^ / The Old South Gate
  10. ^ [ The Garden of Four Seasons. (n.d.). Retrieved March 16, 2015, from http://www.lcsd.gov.hk/en/parks/kwcp/four.html /The Garden of Four Seasons ]
  11. ^ [A City of Thousand Faces. (n.d.). Retrieved March 14, 2015, from http://www.lcsd.gov.hk/en/parks/kwcp/thousand.html#04/A City of Thousand Faces. ]
  12. ^ [A City of Thousand Faces. (n.d.). Retrieved March 14, 2015, from http://www.lcsd.gov.hk/en/parks/kwcp/thousand.html#04/A City of Thousand Faces. ]
  13. ^ [ Guided Tour. (n.d.). Retrieved March 12, 2015, from http://www.lcsd.gov.hk/en/parks/kwcp/tour.html/ Guided Tour.]
  14. ^ [Opening Hours. (n.d.). Retrieved March 14, 2015, from http://www.lcsd.gov.hk/en/parks/kwcp/opening.html/ Opening Hours ]
  15. ^ "How to Access". Kowloon Walled City Park. Leisure and Cultural Services Department. Retrieved 26 August 2015.