The perfect coexistence of traditional and contemporary comes alive in Hong Kong.
One of the most bustling cities in the world, Hong Kong is the epitome of a metropolis. Hongkongers have lived here for over 30,000 years – although they went by a different name back then. And today, it’s the ultimate melting pot of culture and cuisine. While Hong Kong welcomes change, innovation, and advancement, there’s a strong presence of preservation of and pride in the past.
In the literal way, Hong Kong brings the old back by providing new purpose and use to historical buildings. For instance, in a neighbourhood with otherwise traditional businesses, one historical wooden tenement building has been revitalised. Wan Chai’s Blue House is now a neighbourhood landmark, bringing in visitors and trade. Then there’s the microcosm of Hollywood Road, which proffers traditional tea shops alongside contemporary designer clothing. The true apotheosis of being simultaneously old and new on Hollywood Road is the Man Mo Temple from 1847 and the freshly opened Man Mo Café.
In other parts of the city, ancient sites are expertly preserved to look and feel just as they did in their original states. Parks, villages, temples and caves dating back hundreds and thousands of years stand proudly today as perfect displays of how ancient communities existed in the bygone eras of dynasties, pirates, colonialists and more. Anyone can travel back to the time of the Ming Dynasty 500 years ago by stepping into the Kat Hing Wai Walled Village just outside of Yuen Long. Descendants from the people who built the walls to protect themselves from pirates, tigers and other types of invaders still live there today. Nearby, the residence of 19th century Qing Dynasty Chinese Elite showcases the same opulence of its former glory.
But ways of preserving the past can be less straightforward. Hong Kong dwellers and visitors can delve deep into the practices and wisdom of ancient Chinese tea, medicine and Feng Shui. In China, tea was, supposedly, discovered in 2737 BC and has been used to treat ailments of every variety since then. Today, learning how to appreciate its aroma, colour and taste honours an ancient, beloved part of the culture.
It’s clear that the roots of ancestors past are firmly planted, deeply respected and given room to continue to grow in the same exact space where unbelievable developments forge a path for a stronger future. It’s old and new, east and west, traditional and modern. It’s an origin story and the next generation. It’s one of a kind. It’s uniquely Hong Kong.