Monday, April 21, 2014

Traveling Tuesday: Kowloon Walled City Park

I had been seeing a lot of postings about the Kowloon Walled City recently.  So, my friend and I decided to travel to Kowloon City and check out what remained of the infamous Kowloon Walled City.

The Walled City carries a lot of history.  It originally was a military outpost in the Song Dynasty, during British colonial rule (even before) the area became an urban settlement, and today it is an urban park.

Before becoming a park, this area used to be the epicenter of crime, drugs, gambling, prostitution, poor sanitation, and the like.  Though there was a dark side, there was also the side of the Walled City that was beautiful.  There were once candy factories, noodle factories, small businesses, and happy residents who were not involved in the crime ridden side of the City.

One thing that left a huge impression on me was how dense this city became.  Buildings were so closely built together, people were living in every nook, and factories/small businesses ran in every cranny.  And, yet, there were still remnants of the Song Dynasty structures that were kept in tact through all those years.

Remains of the South Gate
After the Walled City was demolished back in the 1990s, the Kowloon Walled City Park was constructed.  This park holds the history of this area, as well as provides a wonderful space to commune with nature.  There are four different gardens in this park, each dedicated to the four seasons:  Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter.
This beautiful structure is meant to resemble a boat.  The rocks below it are meant to be the waves of the sea.

The Summer garden area has a beautiful little lake area surrounded by banana trees

Most of the history of the Kowloon Walled City can be found in the Almshouse.  Though the interactive bits are in Cantonese, it is still wonderful to see the images of the old city.

This is the Garden of Chinese Zodiac, where each of the twelve animals were constructed by different artists.

Uncle Man and his paper tearing demonstration

Most of the information that we learned about was given to us by Uncle Man.  We were actually wondering the park on our own, but then this really cordial man walked up to me.  After that, he took us on a private tour of the park again.  He was so knowledgeable and really got me excited to learn all the peculiarities of the old city.  He also demonstrated his paper tearing art for us.

It was a lovely afternoon spent!