Kowloon Walled City was a ‘city’ that, at its peak, had 33,000 residents. For a place that’s only 2.6 hectares big, that’s quite a lot. This made it 40 times denser then the current Manhattan area. It was a place that had no laws, no streets and almost no daylight, packed with drug users, refugees, triad members and just ordinary people trying to make a living. Hong Kong had enough of this lawless place in 1987 though and finally demolished the entire city in 1993 and 1994.
It’s a shame I can’t watch the city anymore as it was, because it must have been a very unique experience. When looking at footage of it, there’s a lot going on in the city and the architecture is unmatched. It was basically just a collection of tall apartment buildings, built wall to wall. The city looked a lot like today’s Hong Kong skyline, only a lot less organised and much less spacious.
In the park a model is displayed that shows what the Walled City looked like in its last days. It’s interesting to see how dense it actually was. The little space in the middle is where a small building, called the yamen, used to be.
Since it’s demolition, and even before that, a lot of books were written about the city and even some movies were shot in it. Jean Claude van Damme’s ‘Bloodsport’ was partly shot there in 1988. Many computer games have made some maps in the style of Kowloon Walled City, with Call of Duty being one of the most famous of those.
What once was the Kowloon Walled City, is now a park, that’s basically a tribute to what once was. The only remaining things of the old city are the yamen building and the foundation of the south gate’s entrance. Also a couple of plaques with the city’s name on it remain, as I have shot in the picture below.
When I walked into the park, I entered a Chinese garden that was beautifully decorated. I noticed several older Chinese men just sitting around there enjoying the shades. It wouldn’t surprise me if they were former inhabitants of the Walled City reminiscing about old times. The park is very beautiful but there is very little left to see, of the actual Walled City. Well they didn’t demolish it for nothing.
It seems like many people agree with me on that because it wasn’t very crowded in the park. There were only some photographers here and there and some families running around with children. Chinese gardens always make for a good looking photo but I’m sure the old Walled City would have guaranteed even more spectacular ones.