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Built in 1847, the Cathedral is the oldest Anglican Church in the Far East. It underwent an extension in 1873 and was converted into a clubhouse for the Japanese Imperial Army during the Japanese Occupation between 1942-1944. During this time, the building was damaged considerably, which led to its rebuilding after the Second World War. It was declared a historical monument in 1996. Apart from weekly services, the church now also runs a number of community and social services.
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.
Situated next to St. John's Cathedral, the Former French Mission Building was built by order of the first Governor of Hong Kong, Sir Henry Pottinger. The granite and red brick structure was completed between 1842-1843, making it one of Hong Kong's oldest surviving colonial buildings. Acquired by the French Mission in 1915, it was finally sold back to the Hong Kong Government in 1953. Nowadays the neo-classically styled building is used as the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal and has been declared a monument.
Built in 1855, and extensively redesigned during the wartime occupation by the Japanese, Government House has been home to 25 British governors until 1997. Today, it is used for entertaining VIPs, and for fund-raising events. Government House is closed to the public, but it throws open its doors for one Sunday in March every year, allowing the populace an opportunity to view the gardens filled with beautiful azaleas. Alternatively, the 46th floor of the The Bank of China Tower is a great place for a birds-eye view of this monument to Hong Kong's colonial history.
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.
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.
Designed by British architect Sir Norman Foster, the building cost nearly a billion Hong Kong dollars to construct and was the world's most expensive building when it was completed in 1985. The bank does not have tours for the public, but information booklets about the building are available at the reception desk on the first floor. While you're there, it is worth having a look at the internal structure of this monolith, which is made up of a giant atrium surrounded by floors suspended from steel masts. Outside, the two bronze lions have been guarding the entrance since 1935.
So the fun evening of partying in Lan Kwai Fong is over, but what to do about a night that is definitely still young? Okay, how about grabbing a few cans of beer from the bar and walking to Duddell Street, which is only five minutes away. Just off Ice House Street, the stone steps at Duddell Street were built between 1875 and 1889 and are lit by the only surviving gas street lamps in Hong Kong. An ideal spot, in fact, for whiling away those late night hours, relaxing and enjoying the night air.