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Amid the silver-grey skyline of Hong Kong Island stands a shining golden tower. During it's development the designers were given a simple brief: a straightforward 50-floor building with no embellishments, as long as it was in gold! The striking color makes it stand out much like the gold tooth in an old granny's smile, which is why it is called 'The Amah's Tooth'. Gold is universally acknowledged, and especially by the Chinese, as the color of wealth. One cannot think of a more apt symbol for Hong Kong than this golden facade glinting in the sunlight.
The Australian Bond Corporation bought this space-age structure shortly before completion in 1987. Looking more closely at the shiny glass towers reveals oversized Koala Bears clinging to tree trunks - maybe the Australian owners wanted to bring some of the Outback to Hong Kong? Since then the twin towers have changed ownership several times because of bankruptcy and company closures. Bad feng shui, due to the angular shape of the towers, has been blamed but the current owners seem to be doing quite nicely. Hong Kong Park is definitely the place for the best views of these quirky towers.
Stretching from the Tsim Sha Tsui Star Ferry to Hunghom, this promenade offers some of the best views in Hong Kong, especially at night, when the Hong Kong skyline is lit up with neon signs. The Promenade is a popular place for lovers, joggers, photographers with tripods and the occasional fishermen fishing in the waters of the harbor. During the Chinese New Year fireworks display, tons of people crowd into the area to watch the spectacle.
Completed in 1990, this Hong Kong landmark is the masterpiece of the world-famous Chinese architect I. M. Pei. The 70-story structure has been criticized for its bad feng shui, as the building is comprised of four triangular sections, a definite no-no in Chinese geometry. The sharp vertical edges also radiate destructive energy towards the banks' major rivals, and neighbors: Citibank, the Hong Kong & Shanghai Bank, and the Bank of America. However negative, the tower's simple architecture and clean lines add to the modern architectural heritage of Hong Kong. The 46th floor offers great views over Central.
Completed only a year after the Communist Party came to power in China, this building had a lot to prove! The neighbouring Hongkong and Shanghai Bank building, since demolished to make way for Foster's steel and glass concoction, had to be surpassed in every way, which it duly was. Continuing the patriotic theme, external loudspeakers encouraged passers-by to revolt against the colonial rulers during the heady days of the Cultural Revolution in 1967. No longer home to the Bank of China, the occupants now include the Sin Hua Bank as well as the exclusive, old Shanghai-style China Club.
Hong Kong Park is not just a park: it features an aviary, greenhouse, fountain plaza, lily ponds, playgrounds, artificial waterfall, viewing tower, visual arts center, museum, restaurant, indoor games hall and even a marriage registry. Some people say it looks anything but natural. Still, it is beautiful in its own odd way, with high-rise buildings on one side and mountain greenery on the other. The aviary houses over 150 species of birds and visitors walk on a suspended wooden bridge around 10m above the ground to look at the birds perched in tropical greenery at eye level.
In the midst of some formidable modern architecture stands the neo-classical structure of the Legco Building. The Goddess of Justice above the main entrance dates back to 1912 when the building was originally opened as the Supreme Court. In the early 1980s the Legislative Council took over occupancy. Many of the Legislative Council meetings are open to the public, which is a great way to get a look inside this old colonial beauty. Check out the Legco website to see what is on and then call during office hours to reserve a seat.
Established in 1962, Hong Kong City Hall was the first fully fledged cultural venue in Hong Kong. Consisting of two unmistakeably sixties-styled blocks, the low block houses major facilities such as the Concert Hall, a theatre, an exhibition hall and restaurants, whilst the high block is home to an exhibition gallery, recital hall, committee rooms and a marriage registry. City Hall is conveniently located in Central, and individuals and organisations can hire the venues for cultural and art activities. Right in front of the building's main entrance are Edinburgh Place and Queen's Pier, where many official ceremonies are held.