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2010年11月17日 星期三

Heritage of Central district

The future meets the past in Hong Kong and nowhere can you see this more clearly than in the Central district. We see among historic buildings that are nestled amid stunning skyscrapers, where the ancient art of feng shui influences modern architecture, along streets whose very names evoke the colourful history of this amazing territory.

The heart of Hong Kong city, the Central district, has been developing since inception of British rule in 1841. Western-style buildings sprang up as the city grew prosperously and the early 20th century saw Hong Kong develop into a metropolis. Extensive reclamations extending the waterfront and development projects were carried out during different periods and although the outlook of the city is ever changing, many historical buildings and structures still survive as standing testimony to the history of the Central district.

Statue Square - over which a seated bronze statue of Queen Victoria once reigned. Within the square stands the elegant and modern HSBC – the fourth HSBC building to occupy the site over a period of 150 years. Built in the early 1980s by Lord Norman Foster, it is a fascinating example of how feng shui and modern environmental features have been merged in present-day Hong Kong.

The Legislative Council - one of Hong Kong’s last remaining colonial buildings. Built from Kowloon granite in the neoclassical style, this elegant and historic building once served as the Supreme Court and is situated on reclaimed land.

The Court of Final Appeal - a building of historic importance in Hong Kong. The present three-storey building was built in 1917 on the foundation of a previous structure and is constructed of granite and red bricks. The first Governor of Hong Kong, Sir Henry Pottinger, resided there from 1843 to 1846. The building then had several owners (including an American trading house and the Russian consulate), and was acquired by the French Mission in 1915 - a name by which it is still commonly referred today.

St John’s Anglican Cathedral - this beautiful Cathedral, built in the shape of a cross, is a survivor of the earliest buildings of the British era, built on the only freehold lease in Hong Kong, and is unchanged since it early days. It is the oldest surviving Western ecclesiastical building in Hong Kong, and the oldest Anglican church in the Far East, with construction completed in 1849. It was declared a monument in 1996.