Sightseeing in Hong Kong is not just limited to eating at different restaurants, checking out art exhibitions, shopping or hiking scenic mountains. Hong Kong has a rich history preserved in its many heritage buildings which were revitalized and restored and are now open to the public. You can learn more about the city’s past by visiting these historical buildings in Hong Kong. We’ve rounded up the top heritage buildings in Hong Kong that you should visit to get a better understanding of the city’s rich history and cultural background.
Formerly a police station compound in Central, Tai Kwun is a new arts and heritage center which offers unique experiences. The revitalization of this site comprises three monuments including the Central Police Station, Central Magistracy and Victoria Prison, all of which were conserved in all their authenticity.
Walk up the slope in Central and you will be met with the gate into this large spacious site. You can explore the old prison cells and courtyards which were carefully restored. Informative exhibitions have been added for an educational history of this fascinating old building.
Tai Kwun is a hot spot for contemporary and interactive art shows, music and theater performances, film-screenings, educational programs and more. This space is a platform for many curators and local artists to showcase their works. There’s also plenty of restaurants and souvenir shops to complete your day.
Western Market is one of the oldest standing structures in Sheung Wan, Hong Kong. This Edwardian-style building was renovated in 1991 and is now a shopping complex. The building is easily spotted with its red brick exterior and a granite arch over its entrance. First built in 1858, the complex had a now-demolished South block and the North block which now houses cafes, restaurants, fabric and jewelry shops and arts and crafts stores today.
Hop on the tram from Central and get off at the Western Market. Head inside the complex, and you will see myriad shops like No. 8, which sells tailor-made wedding dresses and traditional qipao for soon-to-be brides, and Miao, which sells jewellery made of pearls, jade and other stones. If you are looking for fabric to make your own clothes, the first floor of the building is home to numerous merchants selling almost any kind of fabric. After shopping, you can eat at a host of eateries like Honeymoon Dessert and top off your trip with dessert at the Japanese bakery Das Gute.
First built as a Western education public school, then transformed into home for the Police Married Quarters (PMQ) and finally revitalized into a creative hub, PMQ is another unmissable historical building in Hong Kong. Inside you will find an array of shops selling all kinds of locally-produced products from fashionable jewellery to stylish homewares to sturdy leather footwear and trendy phone accessories. For foodies, PMQ is home to the Michelin-starred French restaurant Louise, the artisanal PMQ Taste Library where numerous food cultural events are held and Japanese cuisine from Sake Central among others.
Other than shopping, this building is a hip and happening place. PMQ has more than a dozen workshops in the design studios that teach you meditation, coloring, cooking, DIY and more. While you are at it, check out their outstanding art and cultural exhibitions where you can learn more about tea, calligraphy and other interesting topics. PMQ is a large showcase of local artisanal culture which gives local artists opportunities to thrive.
Haw Par Mansion
Haw Par Mansion, built in the 1930s, formerly belonged to a famous Chinese businessman, Aw Boon Haw, who founded the commonly used pain-relieving ointment, Tiger Balm. The mansion and the garden show a mix of both Western and Chinese elements. A Western architectural design approach was used, and Chinese design features can be seen on the interior walls. Chinese paintings, like the Eight Immortals crossing the sea adorn the walls, and the exterior features a redbrick Chinese-style rooftop with mottled green tiles. Some foreign elements in design include the large stained windows and doors from Italy, sculptures of Indian and Burmese features and the garden consisting of some French features. This Chinese Eclectic style of architecture is now an invaluable collection to the heritage buildings in Hong Kong.
Today, known as Haw Par Music, this place serves as a hub for cultural exchange in the forms of music, arts and heritage. Numerous music and heritage projects have been taking place here such as courses teaching Chinese instruments and Chinese cultural appreciation workshops. Book a 60-minute guided tour around the site to learn more about its history from professional docents.
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