Although Hong Kong is known on the international stage as a financial and business hub, the city is also teeming with history and culture, as these public heritage sites demonstrate
Lovers of Hong Kong museums and art galleries may be interested to know that the city offers much when it comes to its cultural heritage, you really just need to know where to look. So, from the vibrant streets of Mong Kok to colourful Wan Chai, we’ve uncovered some historic buildings in Hong Kong that can’t be missed!
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Posted by Honeycombers Hong Kong on Sunday, 11 March 2018
Hong Kong owes a lot to its colourful past. The city’s rich history has been shaped by pirates, traders, royal queens, tribal clans and more. However, when the concrete and glass towers begin to loom in and the capitalistic cacophony of rush hour hits, it’s easy to see why some might dismiss this history as fiction. But if you take the time to look you can still find some authentic hidden historic buildings snuggled between the skyscrapers that hark back to yesteryear.
Lui Seng Chun – HKBU School of Chinese Medicine
When it comes to historic buildings in Hong Kong, Lui Seng Chun is one of our favourites. Respectfully adapted from a 4-storey shop house into a Chinese healthcare centre in 2012, this is the kind of place Hong Kong needs more of. The 1931 neoclassical building strikingly blends Chinese and Western architectural styles, with the gorgeous supporting granite columns and balconies being a key highlight. The deep verandahs were designed to keep the interiors cool and prevent rain from coming in. It was commissioned in 1929 by one of the founders of Kowloon Motor Bus Company and his family donated it to the government in 2000. Today, glass panels have been added to the verandahs and there is a herbal tea shop display on the ground floor. Hong Kong heritage and architecture at its finest.
Lui Seng Chun, 119 Lai Chi Kok Road, Mong Kok, Kowloon, Hong Kong, p. 3411 0628, 旺角荔枝角道119號
Hong Kong Heritage Discovery Centre
This picturesque site is made up of two main colonial-era structures that once belonged to the British Army, with an open air courtyard spanning the buildings. The two blocks are part of the remains of Whitfield Barracks, named after a British army commander. Although all the other barracks were removed to make way for Kowloon Park, these two were converted into a heritage centre and some inactive parts of the former Battery remain nearby. The conversion won the 2007 UNESCO Asia Pacific Heritage Awards Jury Commendation for Innovation, and today they are home to exhibition galleries, educational rooms and a reference library.
Hong Kong Heritage Discovery Centre, Kowloon Park, Haiphong Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, p. 2208 4400, 九龍尖沙咀海防道九龍公園
Red Brick House – Engineer’s Office of the Former Pumping Station
Although this place appears to be just a modest nondescript red brick building, it is in fact over a century old and possesses great historical and architectural merit. It’s the only surviving building of an 1895 Pumping Station, making it the oldest waterworks structure in Hong Kong. As part of one of the earliest systems to supply fresh water to the city, it featured steam-driven pumps imported from England which helped lower the mortality rate at the time. Significant features on the two-storey neoclassical building include the red brick façade, the wooden window shutters and the unique pitched roof with Chinese clay tiles. There are a number of neighbouring historic buildings in the area too.
Red Brick House, 8 Waterloo Road, Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon, Hong Kong, p. 2264 8108, 油麻地窩打老道8號
The blue-toned block is a four-storey 1920 tenement building which features a stunning mix of Chinese and Western architectural styles. Some say it is one of the oldest existing structures of this style in the city. While many only associate this historic block with the colour blue, it is in fact part of a whole spectrum of colourful interconnected heritage buildings on Stone Nullah Lane, including the Yellow House and Orange House. These were recently given a new lease of life and the cluster is now a multi-functional complex with residential units as well as community centres. The distinctive blue colour for which the main building is known is said to be due to the fact the decorators only had blue paint at the time.
Blue House, 72-74A Stone Nullah Lane, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, p. 2117 5843, 灣仔石水渠街72-74A號
Yau Ma Tei Fruit Market
This incredible market is a living hub of community, culture and life that mainly comes alive after dark, when fruit wholesalers and retailers bargain and barter on large deliveries of fresh produce which are brought in every night on mammoth delivery trucks. Although most of the workers go home during the day, it’s still a beautiful site that is so aesthetically Hong Kong, and some fruit stalls stay open to sell items during the day to regular passersby as well. It was originally built in 1913, and the main features of the site are the historic signboards on the outer walls of the buildings and the original brick and stone structures.
Yau Ma Tei Wholesale Fruit Market, Waterloo Road, Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon, Hong Kong, 油麻地果欄