Having come across the notorious Kowloon Walled City online, Ryan and I were really interested in checking out the park that had replaced it.
If you’re unfamiliar with the KWC, here’s a little background information.
The Kowloon Walled City was a largely ungoverned settlement in Kowloon, Hong Kong. Although it was originally a Chinese military fort, it became a lawless enclave after the New Territories were leased to Britain in 1898. Its population increased dramatically following the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong during World War 2. Furthermore it was thought to be the most densely populated place on Earth, with 35,000 people crammed into a few tiny apartment blocks and more than 300 interconnected high-rise buildings, all constructed without contributions from a single architect.
From the 1950s to 1970s, the city was controlled by Triads. This resulted in high crime rates, prostitution, gambling and drug use. Nevertheless it has also been stated that residents formed a tight knit community in response to the difficult living conditions. Nothing like it had existed before, and nothing has since. Check out some of the amazing photography by Greg Girard and Ian Lamboth.
This is a model of the Walled City.
After a difficult eviction process, demolition began in March 1993 and was completed in April 1994.
Kowloon Walled City Park opened in December 1995, occupying the area of the former Walled City.
Some historical artifacts remain, including the remnants of the South Gate, the Yamen building (imperial government administrative building) and this cannon.
It is divided into eight landscape features, offering visitors a chance to appreciate the beauty of nature in a place where the darker side of human nature once flourished.
I’m pretty sure this is the normal thing to do when you see a circular arch, right?!
The park is beautiful, peaceful and full of interesting facts.
Best of all, it’s free, so no excuses not to check it out if you’re in HK!
I’ll leave you with a cheeky selfie and a fascinating little documentary (it’s in German, but subtitled in English).