The Hong Kong skyline is one of the most famous in the world. Type ‘Hong Kong’ into Google and you are bombarded with spectacular images of the array of buildings, skyscrapers and architecture of varying shapes, sizes, heights and colours.

Being a massive history fan, it’s pretty interesting to see how it’s changed over Hong Kong’s existence. There are a fair few blog posts out there with similar pictures, but I thought I’d try and give more information, describing the skyline in different decades and give a brief explanation as to what changes have been made to it, and possible reasons why.



One of the first iconic paintings of Hong Kong harbour (Victoria Harbour) from around the 1850s. The foreground looks to be looking south/south-west towards Hong Kong island, where the first signs of settlement are shown, in-front of the Peak. The mountain behind appear to have been exaggerated from what I can tell (its only 1km or 0.6 miles wide). In the foreground is a ship wreck, which would have been a common occurrence at this time. The British merchant and naval ships, so used to calmer waters of the Caribbean or India would put up little resistance against the tropical typhoons that hit Hong Kong during typhoon season. All of the bay in the foreground is now underneath East Kowloon, and the the tip of the Kowloon Peninsula is so much more closer to island now. At the right of the settlement in the background would have been Possession Point – the point at which British sailors first declared Hong Kong to be a British possession, prior to it becoming a Crown Colony, during the negotiations in the closing stages of the Opium War with China in 1841. The story of Hong Kong was about to get really eventful.


hong-kong-history HongKongHarbour__early1900s_

These pictures – a print and a painting – show Hong Kong at the turn of the 20th Century. Huge factories and buildings have been constructed as Hong Kong’s reputation as China’s Entreport increases. More and more investment from British merchants in the Far East has caused rapid urbanisation along the north of Hong Kong Island.


This is one of the clearest early photos of Hong Kong island from the early 20th Century. Still expanding  still having newer buildings constructed but on a small scale. Laws still safeguarded the Peak and surrounding area for the white, Western ex-pats, because of these beautiful views.



Hong Kong 1980's (2) 521695_477032642318801_4269140_n 741008_503363863019012_1064229299_o Hong_Kong_1978

ist03644_01.tif 304616_4059327813970_186773552_n 1980_Hong_Kong_032 300px-Hk1989a


1 Response to “The Changing Face of Hong Kong”

  1. 1 grace May 16, 2013 at 12:05 am

    This is an amazing post!

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