Hong Kong is one of the ten major world trading powers and financial centers, that’s why the life level in the country is one of the highest in Asia. Moreover, Hong Kong is a quite major port. Hong Kong has achieved a sufficiently high economic growth thanks to its favorable geographic position, developed legal framework and improved infrastructure, although Hong Kong developed in conditions of almost complete lack of natural resources. Modern Hong Kong attracts many tourists from all over the world. Hong Kong is not an ordinary country, it is amazing thanks to virtually untouched beauty of the nature, abundance of skyscrapers, endless streams of people, cars and many neon signs. Modern Hong Kong is a real paradise for shopping and nightlife. The prices are surprisingly low in the local shops of famous brands, the countless clubs, bars, restaurants and discos which are available to be visited around the clock. The versants with cultural activities will not remain disappointed in Hong Kong. They will have a unique opportunity not only to visit museums and see the world's great statue of Buddha, but also to visit the ancient temples and the ancient settlements, where people are especially sensitive about their traditions. The vibrant life, focused on the Kowloon Peninsula and Hong Kong Island, remains the main attraction in Hong Kong. The ultramodern skyscrapers create in the most amazing way a contrast with the buildings of colonial architecture. That’s why Hong Kong is an amazing city built on contrasts. Both, a lover of history and a lover of entertainment will feel equally comfortable here. Hong Kong is an ideal place for an unforgettable romantic getaway on the weekend. Stay at a trendy hotel, enjoy a romantic dinner of seafood on the waterfront, do not deny yourself the purchase of leading designer goods, dance the night away, explore the colorful alleys and temples of the city, climb on the tops or hang on the beach at sunset. Use the trip or city tour or wander through the Peak at sunset, enjoying the magnificent view of Hong Kong, Kowloon and New Territories. Take a trip to the area of New Territories to admire walled old villages. Take also a trip to magnificent places of Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. Enjoy a stroll and lunch in the area of Sai Kung, Lei Yue Mun or on Lamma Island. Soak up the prevailing atmosphere, visit a local temple, where you predict your destiny. Take a look at Ocean Park or visit Disneyland.
History of Hong Kong
The territory of Hong Kong became part of China in the late third millennium BC, but the first settlements appeared on the island only in the XI century AD. About 5 000 people lived in Hong Kong at the time of the arrival of the British people. Most of them were engaged in fishing, cattle breeding and agriculture. The first mentions of Hong Kong appeared in the history only in the XVII century. The location near the Pearl River makes it a convenient port for merchant ships from around the world. Despite the fact that China didn’t encourage the trade with foreigners, the Portuguese founded a colony in Macau and began the trade of China goods in 1550. Canton, located on the Pearl River became available for the merchants from other countries in 1685. Being uninterested in the import of goods, China was very successful in the export of tea, porcelain and silk. The situation changed dramatically in the XVIII century, when the British discovered that opium can be very successfully imported in China. During the First Opium War in 1840-1842 an English stronghold was set up in Hong Kong . According to the Nanking agreement, Hong Kong Island and Kowloon Peninsula retreated into the possession of Britain after the war ended in 1842. Britain joined to Hong Kong the neighboring island of it and some small part of the Kowloon Peninsula after the Second Opium War of 1856-1860. And finally, Britain received a 99-year lease to the entire peninsula of Kowloon and New Territories in 1898. A century later, on the 1st of July, 1997 was a momentous event in the history of Hong Kong - it was finally returned to China and became a Special Administrative Region of China, while retaining its executive, judiciary and legislation powers. Hong Kong’s economy has been seriously affected by the Asian financial crisis of 1997 that hit many East Asian markets. The new Hong Kong International Airport was opened in 1998, after six years of constructions according to the central airport program. This project was part of an ambitious strategy for the development of ports and airports, composed in the early 1980s. The administration of Tung Chee Hwa was trying to accept in 2003 the article number 23 of the Basic Law of Hong Kong, which made it possible to violate the rights and freedoms of people. As a result of protests the administration was forced to abandon those plans. Tung Chee Hwa resigned in March 2005, at the request of the Chinese government. Tung Chee Hwa was replaced by his deputy, Donald Tsang immediately after the resignation. Donald Tsang was re-elected to a second term on March 25, 2007.
Hong Kong Disneyland has hospitably opened its doors to visitors in 2005. Since then it has already become one of the main local attractions. Hong Kong Disneyland is a bizarre fantasy world in which the fantastic stories and timeless magic places become a reality. Use all four theme countries of Hong Kong Disneyland to create a magical adventure for the whole day!
Pu Lin Monastery
One of the world's most famous Buddhist monuments is situated in the Pu Lin monastery, on Lantau Island in Hong Kong. It is also known as the "Buddhist Kingdom of the South". The giant Tian Tan Buddha sits peacefully on the top of the mountain, which has a long staircase. It is considered the biggest Buddha statue under the open air in China and in the world.
Victoria Peak is the first place you should visit in Hong Kong. It is visited by six million people every year. Victoria Peak is the highest point of the island (552 m) from the top of which you can admire the magnificent views of Hong Kong. And if you get to the peak before dark, you will have the unique opportunity to see a dazzling panorama of Hong Kong Island, the space for new territories, Kowloon and the mountain peaks, rising above the distance. You’ll be very excited admiring thousands of skyscrapers lights from the Victoria Peak at night. You will find lots of fantastic entertainment, the possibilities for shopping and restaurants here. The easiest way to get to the Peak is using the railway funicular. It was built in 1888. Sitting down on a chair in the funicular, try to occupy the front seats, preferably from the right hand side - this is the most convenient place from which you can watch the simple but impressive sight.
The Hong Kong Park has an area of 8 hectares and it is one of the most unusual parks in the world. Being bounded on one side by the skyscrapers wall and on the other by the mountains, it strikes a bizarre beauty. It was created to look like anything but natural. The park was laid on the place of old slums and was opened in 1991. A small facility of plastic arts, a greenhouse with a wet tropical forest and a huge aviary over which you can walk by a cable car are built here. You can admire colorful parrots, and try to see from the 20-meters height a rare bird, hiding among the lush vegetation in the trees. Cotton Tree Lane with its exotic vegetation is another charming corner of the park.
Botanical and Zoological Garden
Botanical and Zoological Garden were founded in 1864. The Albany Road divides the entire territory – at the east of it the main greenhouse and aviary are located, and at west - the animals. The Zoo was attached to the Botanical in 1975. This green island in the stony jungle of Hong Kong is the favorite workout of Tai Chi fans. You can see all the attributes of the Victorian Times Park, including music stand made of wrought iron here.
The Ocean Park
The Ocean Park is the largest amusement and entertainment park in the South - East Asia. The park offers stunning views of the 234 islands of Hong Kong archipelago and of the coast of Hong Kong Island, which resembles the French Cote d'Azur. Visiting various attractions of the park, you can spend all day in it. The Middle Kingdom – is the Chinese Disneyland, which shows the 5.000 years-old Chinese history. The Atoll Reef is the most recent attraction of the park. It is the world's largest aquarium and represents the whole world of exotic fish and coral reef. The aquarium with sharks is a huge transparent bowl, through which goes an 11 meters transparent tunnel, through which visitors, wishing to see closer the sharks, can walk. You can see performances of dolphins, killer whales and waterfowl. It also has an aviary for butterflies. There is a path of dinosaurs, which presents 17 models of these giant lizards. There is a 72 meters high Park Tower from which you can enjoy an amazing view. You can drive out a Russian or American rollercoaster, a big Ferris Wheel and the attraction "flying eagle" in the park.
The Tea Museum is located in Hong Kong Park in one of the oldest colonial houses - Flagstaff House (built in 1846), where previously the residence of the Chief of the British armed forces was. There is a permanent exhibition devoted to Chinese tea pot in the museum. The exhibition represents an extraordinary collection of 600 teapots and items for the tea ceremony from the time of the Western Zhou (1051 - 771 BC) until today. Small teapots of bizarre shapes (in the form of lotus leaves, bamboo stem), copies of antique teapots and wonderful works of modern masters, as well as books about tea ceremony can be bought in a small museum shop.
Central Plaza is a 78 stores skyscraper, 374 meters high, situated on the polders, reclaimed from the sea. The building was built in 1992 and it is the highest skyscraper in Asia and the fifth highest in the world. The skyscraper is cladded in gold, silver and terracotta glass, and makes a dazzling impression. The panoramic view of the ports Victoria and Kowloon from the 46th floor is stunning. Central Plaza also serves as the biggest clock in the world.
The history of this colonial building is very interesting. The 3 levels house with colonnade stood on the spot was built in the Central region in 1848. The Bank of China is situated on that place now. It was decided to demolish the house to build skyscrapers in 1982, but the building had the status of important historical and cultural monument. It was decided to take it apart and rebuilt in a different, less expensive neighborhood. A small exhibition hall is on the first floor of the house and a restaurant on the second floor.
The Star Ferry
There is no person who refuses the pleasure to cross the sea during the night on the Star ferry. This ferry connects the capital Hong Kong and Kowloon. It is not possible to represent Hong Kong without the ferry and the tour of the capital will be boring without it. The Hong Kong ferry is like a fantastic barrel with windows; its design has not changed since 1880. The stern is the best place for a better view. It's the best place to enjoy the panoramic view of Hong Kong, passing boats from the big ships to container ships, cranes and, of course, the architecture of Hong Kong.
That is Hong Kong. However, the first thing that catches your eye on the arrival in Hong Kong is its incredible purity. Just take a look at the pictures of this city and you’ll have the desire to visit it.
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