Back in 1992, I visited one of the better preserved walled villages in Hong Kong.
The outer walls of Kat Hing Wai date back to 1650, though they are believed to have been thoroughly repaired in 1725. This entrance and its iron gates form the only way into the well-protected village. It leads onto the main road, with narrower alleyways on both sides, and a small temple at the far end. Back in 1992, it was full of very old, small houses in dreadful condition, relying on plastic and corrugated metal to cover holes and provide shelter.
The village is one of several that were established by the Tang clan who arrived in the Kam Tin area in the mid 11th century. History tells us that one of the clan married a princess from the Sung dynasty in the 12th century, leading to a growth in wealth for the clan and the development of several villages, many of which were walled to protect them against attacks by bandits. Kat Hing Wai is one of the better preserved of these walled villages, and one that accepts visitors.
I was keen to get back on my recent visit to Hong Kong, if I could remember where it was and how to get there!
And I succeeded, with only one wrong bus and the use of my fallback solution – a taxi. The entrance and outer walls have hardly changed in the last 25 years.
Inside is a different story. The traditional temple still waits for visitors at the end of the main road, and one or two other traditional buildings are still standing. But the housing has been seriously renovated. In fact, replaced is a more accurate term.
There is now air conditioning, solid walls, modern windows, even balconies. Just take a look at the variety of doors, from traditional to shining metal.
And there was even splash of street art.
Copyright Debbie Smyth, 15 November 2018
Posted as part of Norm’s Doors