jueves, febrero 08, 2007

Kowloon Walled City , insane urban monster

Today post at Kirainet.com talks about horrendous buildings in Japan, with an special mention to Hong Kong which according to Kirai's opinion has the ugliests buildings in the world. Well, I know most of the few who read this blog may live in one of those buildings...To be honest I was really struck when I got to Hong Kong and started to search for an apartment. But people's mind change fast and rather quickly I get used to Hong Kong living standards and its lack of room.

But when it comes to really ugly buildings I cannot help thinking of Kowloon Walled City (九龍寨城公園) , a really urban monster.

For those who have never heard about it, let me put down some background first.

At the Convention of Peking on the 9th June 1898 Britain obtained the New Territories under a ninety-nine-year lease. There was one exception, Chinese officials could remain in the Kowloon Walled City (...) The following year local peasants rebelled, and attacked colonial traders in the new region. The then Governor of Hong Kong, Sir Henry Blake, asked the Viceroy of Canton for protection (...) The viceroy sent in 600 troops, half of which, unbeknown to Blake, moved into the Walled City. Deadlines for their removal were not met, finally British troops were sent in to remove them.

This military intervention would set the stage for eighty years of political argument, and claims and counterclaims over actual jurisdiction. In the meantime the population of the Walled City continued to grow...

Kowloon Walled City about to be demolished

For years the Kowloon Walled City became a no go area. In the control of Triads and drug dealers, with an estimated population in excess of 30,000. Many residents were illegal immigrants; exempt from extradition, encased within its walls (...) Only after Margaret Thatcher had signed away Hong Kong’s sovereignty did its future landlords, the communist Chinese have the ability to finally evacuate the Walled City’s stubborn population between 1988-92 and then destroy its derelict, decrepit, rat infested shell.

Nowadays Kowloon Walled City has turned into a peaceful and calm wide park nearby Kowloon Tong. The best way to get there is by taking the MTR and stop at Kowloon Tong station. From there take a taxi to drive you Kowloon Walled City. Remember to bring with you the name of the park written in Chinese characters since many taxi drivers on Kowloon side can rarely speak English.

Kowloon Walled City nowadays, a pleasant park to spend a quite Sunday afternoon

Warning: Hong Kong & Macau Lonely Planet Guide do not issues transcriptions in Chinese of places or landmarks, so you better bring it with you.

More information at Tofu Magazine, Wikipedia and Hong Kong Tourism Bureau.

1 comentario:

kirai dijo...

thx for great explanation!