Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Geopiece of the Day: Victoria Peak, Hong Kong

There are more than 7,650 skyscrapers crowding the skyline of Hong Kong right to the edge of the harbour. The former British imperial city and now China´s finest special administrative region, wow what a mouthfull, is visited by scores of tourists every year. Where do the get the best view of the city? Victoria Peak.

View of Hong Kong at night from Victoria Peak

Tourists seek out the vertical city often search for a place to see the night sky and take in a little nature and quiet. That is why Victoria Peak is visited by more than ten million people a year, to be exact 10,088,493 people, only about three million people more than the population of Hong Kong. 

The mountain is locally known as just "The Peak", which would make an awesome Hollywood blockbuster movie title. You heard it here first, coming in Summer 2014 by Warner Brothers. 

View of the Peak 

The exploration of the mountain startet in the early 19th century when European residents and explorers discovered the panoramic view of the city the Peak had to offer. Europeans who enjoy colonialism but not the tropical climate of the Hong Kong bay area soon realized that Victoria Peak offered a more temperate climate and began plans to flee the warmth for cooler prospects.

Comfort sparked ingenuity and in 1881 the British started putting together plans for a railway to climb the Peak. It opened a mere 45 years later, talk about British efficiency, in 1926. 

Up, up we go

The old times called for a strict class system in the railway and led to a rather enjoyable listing of who could ride in which carriage. First class was reserved for colonial officers and residents of the Peak. Second class for military and police forces and if you were not lucky enough to enjoy a position of power you had to ride with livestock in the lowest category. The main question that remains is whether you had to buy a ticket for your chicken or if it could ride on your lap?

To this day the Peak remains one of the most important tourist attractions in Hong Kong and the railway still guides visitors to the top.

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