Prior Posting: Hong Kong’s Sheung Wan Neighborhood
From the Sheung Wan market area of Hong Kong my wife and I then headed up hill towards the antique district of the city that is located along Hollywood Road. This road is the second road to be constructed in Hong Kong with only Queens Road Central which runs through Sheung Wan being constructed before it. Hollywood Road today connects Sheung Wan with Central Hong Kong and all along this road it is lined with various antique stores:
Many people think Hollywood Road is named after Hollywood, California. However, Hollywood road actually pre-dates the film industry Hollywood by many decades. The street was first named in 1844 after the family home of Hong Kong’s second British Governor, Sir John Francis Davis. However, Hollywood Road and the Hollywood film industry do have one relation and that is the fact that parts of the movie The World of Suzie Wong was shot along Hollywood Road.
However, this road is not known for movies but for antiques:
The road has long been an antiques district because foreign merchants would put antiques up for sale for people returning to Europe to buy to either keep for their own private collections or sell in Europe. Many of the antiques are really quite stunning but the prices in this market are not for the casual shopper expect to pay many thousands of dollars for things as little as a vase:
The prices are not the only thing shoppers have to worry about, there are allegedly quite a bit of fraudulent antiques for sale in the market and thus only wise collectors can tell the frauds from the real deal:
Not having that kind of know how or money to go shopping for antiques, my wife and I just browsed through the various stores over flowing with goods. Even if we did by something, most of these antiques would be to big to fit in our luggage anyway.
Man Mo Temple
I would say the highlight of of Hollywood Road though, was not the antiques but the Man Mo Temple:
This traditional Chinese temple was quite elegant, which can be seen just by looking at the doors on the building:
The inside of the temple was just as elegant and really quite photogenic with its bright colors and smoky ambiance because of all the burning incense:
This temple was built to honor two Gods, the God of Literature (Man) and the God of War (Mo). However, that doesn’t stop the temple from putting various other deities on display as well:
When we visited the temple it was actually quite busy with both tourists taking pictures, like myself and the various Chinese residents praying at the different shrines in the temple:
Here is where inside the temple people can leave prayers to the various Chinese gods:
In one of the rooms in the temple it actually holds the cremated remains of various people interned in the temple:
On the outside of the temple there is a small fireplace for people to burn prayers and offering of fake money to the dead:
This temple is also one of the oldest in the city because it was first constructed in 1847 just a few years after the construction of Hollywood Road. The temple is now one of the top historic sites in the city and is so popular that it has even been featured in a X-Box game.
Back to Central Hong Kong
After finishing our site seeing at the Man Mo Temple we then went to check out the world’s longest outdoor escalator:
This escalator runs in different directions during the day that corresponds with rush hour pedestrian traffic that have to commute up down the steep lower slopes of Victoria Peak this area of Hong Kong is comprised of. The escalator is officially known as the Central-Mid Levels Escalator and was officially opened to the public on October 15, 1994. The escalator is 800 meters long and rises 135 meters in altitude up the hill. An estimated 55,000 people use this escalator every day free of charge. To ride the whole way on the escalator takes about 20 minutes.
Along the way on the escalator my wife and I could see the various aspects of Hong Kong pass by us such as its various historic colonial era buildings now surrounded by modern skyscrapers:
We could also see the back alley ways turned into food stalls for pedestrians:
Of course there was plenty of Chinese restaurants and stores to see pass by us as well:
We eventually arrived back in Central Hong Kong where the escalator ends, thus completing our full day of touring around the various markets and sites in the Sheung Wan neighborhood. Though the markets in Korea such as Dongdaemun and Namdaemun are much larger then the ones in the Sheung Wan area, the area was still fun to wander around and experience the sights and smells of the great city of Hong Kong.
Next Posting: Happy Valley
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