Shiny modern skyscrapers like ICC, IFC and Central Plaza dominate the Hong Kong skyline. Lurking in different spots, however, are some very old historical places. Here, we run our eye over three ancient structures that can still be seen today, including a tomb that’s two millennia old, as well as the Law Uk Folk Museum and Tsui Sing Lau Pagoda. Read on to discover some hidden Hong Kong historical buildings!
Lei Cheng Uk Han Tomb
Approximate age: 2,000 years
In 1955, land was being levelled on a hill not far from today’s Cheung Sha Wan MTR station when workmen unexpectedly stumbled on a Han Dynasty tomb.
A team from Hong Kong university excavated the tomb. No skeletal remains were found, but inscriptions on the pottery and bronze ware (which included a basin, mirror, bell and bowl) dated the find to the Eastern Han Dynasty (AD 25-220).
Built of bricks, the tomb has four chambers and an entranceway, with ancient messages inscribed in the bricks that read “Great fortune to Panyu County!” and “Peace to Panyu County!”
The tomb was open to the public from 1957 to the mid-1980s, when access was restricted and the site declared a gazetted monument. Today, you can view the tomb through a glass panel – the interior is sealed in a controlled atmosphere. You can, however, see videos, models, maps and photos at the Lei Cheng Uk Han Tomb Museum next door.
The Han tomb is the oldest known structure in Hong Kong.
Tsui Sing Lau Pagoda
Approximate age: 650 years
Hong Kong’s only surviving ancient pagoda, Tsui Sing Lau is close to Tin Shui Wai MTR station (exit E3) in Ping Shan. The three-storey hexagonal pagoda is made of mud bricks and granite and dates to the Ming Dynasty (1368- 1644). Historians believe it used to be seven stories tall.
Walk along the Ping Shan Heritage Trail (1.6km) and you’ll also come across the 700-year-old Tang Ancestral Hall. It has timbers carved with auspicious motifs, as well as some centuries-old study halls where budding officials took public examinations.
Law Uk Folk Museum
Approximate age: 270 years
Rediscovered in Chai Wan in the mid 1970s – when it was in a derelict state and full of flammable goods from being used as a furniture workshop – today’s Law Uk Folk Museum is an old Hakka village house consisting of five rooms; it was built in the mid-18th century. A bomb destroyed part of the house during the Battle of Hong Kong in 1941. While you can visit the museum in person, there’s also a great virtual tour of the building here.
Enjoyed reading about these historical buildings in Hong Kong? Find out more Hong Kong facts and trivia in our Living in Hong Kong section.