Three more buildings in Hong Kong will be preserved intact after the government on Friday declared three historical buildings monuments, taking the monument tally to 117.
Tung Lin Kok Yuen, a Buddhist temple in Happy Valley, Kowloon Union Church in Yau Ma Tei and the Yeung Hau Temple in Tai O were declared monuments under the Antiquities and Monuments Ordinance.
Under the ordinance, the antiquities authority is empowered to prevent any alterations or impose conditions on proposed alterations to protect the monument.
Declared monuments receive the highest level of protection under the law.
The Hong Kong Observatory headquarters in Tsim Sha Tsui and Tang Ancestral Hall in Yuen Long’s Ha Tsuen, to name just two, are well-known monuments for Hong Kong people.
This photo shows the front elevation of Kowloon Union Church. (www.heritage.gov.hk)
Under the current antiquity conservation rules, the city will give grades to historical buildings, with Grade 1 as the highest ranking. They are subject to a less strict protection from the government and the law. There are now 1,444 historical buildings in the city.
Completed in 1935, Tung Lin Kok Yuen has been of religious and educational significance in the Chinese community for its strong association with the early development of female education, and the development and teaching of modern Chinese Buddhism.
Tung Lin Kok Yuen adopted Western structural forms, combined with traditional Chinese designs, details and decorations, such as flying eaves, brackets and glazed tile roofs.
Kowloon Union Church has served as a place for public worship in the community since its opening in 1931.
It survived the Japanese occupation when the church ceased to function and the building was converted into a horse stable by the Japanese army and suffered severe looting and damage.
The church possesses Perpendicular Gothic architectural features, with a pitched Chinese-tiled roof, red load-bearing brick walls and contrasting grey granite steps and window surrounds.
The elegant double hammer-beam timber roof trusses with carved granite corbel supports are rare and dominant features of the main hall’s spacious interior.
This photo shows the front elevation of the Yeung Hau Temple. (www.heritage.gov.hk)
The Yeung Hau Temple was believed to have been built in 1699 or earlier. Inside the temple, there is a relic – an iron bell – cast in the early Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) to commemorate Hau Wong, a Chinese heroic general. One of the oldest temples in Tai O, it has long been patronized by not only fishermen and fish merchants, but also soldiers and citizens.
The temple is also popular for its strong association with the Tai O dragon boat water parade, which is a traditional festive event with a history of over 100 years, and was inscribed onto the third national list of intangible cultural heritage of China in 2011.
Discover more about the three monuments at www.heritage.gov.hk.