Hong Kong ranks highly in any tourist’s dwellings when it comes to visiting the enchanting continent of Asia. The outstandingly intriguing aspect about Hong Kong is the fact that this administrative outpost of China has not lost its core Eastern culture despite having gone through an exponential few decades of modernization synonymous to the West. Having said that, Hollywood Road is one such integral stretch in the midst of Hong Kong Island that goes on to typify what has been previously stated.
Having the distinction of being the second road that was built when the colony of Hong Kong was founded, Hollywood Road was the first one to be completed in time. Now don’t jump to conclusions regarding the naming of the road! The road was constructed way back in 1844, a long time before the famous Hollywood in California came into being. The name bears its roots probably to a certain Sir John Francis Davis, who is said to be credited with it after his family home by the same name in Bristol, England. Another possibility for the name coming into being could also be the ‘holly’ shrubs that grew in the area when the road was being built. The conflict for credit remains till date.
That was for the etymology of the name. Historically significant, Hollywood Road was built by Royal Engineers and has always been a hub of sorts for the dealings of antiques and artifacts for more than a century now. At that time, the road was much closer to the coastline and thus facilitated easy trade with respect to logistics and the like. That was when Hollywood Road began its tryst with the antique trade.
If you are a history fanatic who has a thing for antiques, trinkets, collectibles and what not; Hollywood Street will be nothing short of paradise. You have everything under the sun available here: starting with Chinese furniture to porcelain ware, from Buddha sculptures to Tibetan rugs, from Maoist memorabilia to Ming Dynasty ceramic horseman: you are looking for an Oriental piece of history; Hollywood Street is your best bet to find it. Right along the 2 kilometer stretch of Hollywood Road, you are bound to find such shops flocking your sides; peppered in between by the attractions that are listed below.
Hollywood Road Park
One of the foremost tourist attractions on Hollywood Road is the unmissable Hollywood Road Park. Home to the best grade shops selling blasts from the Oriental past as stated above, Hollywood Road Park with its Chinese gateway is an appeasing destination. A park built in the midst of modern structures, it provides the right kind of atmosphere for visitors on the lookout for some leisure time. The park is built in typical Chinese architectural style and is home to some pretty relevant history. In former maps, the Hollywood Road Park used to be marked as Possession Point. Now this was the point where the Royal Navy had landed on the Hong Kong Island before signing the Treaty of Nanking. The land over which the park is built is where James Bremer, the commander of the Far East Fleet had marked the official possession of Hong Kong.
Paak Sing Hall
After spending some leisurely time at the Hollywood Road Park, move over to the south side of the road onto the Paak Sing Hall or in other words the ‘Hall of 100 Names’. It was founded in 1856 to keep safely the ancestral tablets that the settlers of Hong Kong had brought over from their mainland. You will find a variety of shrines in there along with several thousand wooden tablets which bear a lot of austere significance to the natives of the land. On the opposite side to the left is Tai Ping Shan Street, a part of Hollywood Road which has its own infamous historical purpose. Here’s where the much maligned pirate Cheung Po Tsai had settled down after he had received pardon and amnesty from the Qing emperor some 30 years before the British arrived. Yet another marker from the past that Hollywood Road is guarding till this date.
Temple of Mercy & Man Mo Temple
Following on further from Tai Ping Shan Street onto the main part of Hollywood Road, you will find a shrine on the left and a vividly painted temple dedicated to Kwun Yam or the Goddess of Mercy. This along with the Temple of Man Mo dedicated to the Gods of Literature and War sum up the faith vested in this very original part of Hong Kong Island. In the distance ensuing these two temples you have Cat Street which is home to a sprawling flea market with an array of items one can only deem unimaginably authentic.
Central Police Station & Victoria Prison
Moving upmarket, you will pass by many more antique shops peppered with refreshment centers here and there. South of Hollywood Road, popularly known as SoHo is home to plenty such options, a detour to the left wherefrom will take you to Aberdeen Street which houses Lin Heung; said to be the best traditional tea and dim sum place in Hong Kong arguably. Back on Hollywood Road, you have two famous shops which go by the name of Low Price Second Hand Shop and Goods of Desire wherein you can rummage for some old relics or photos from Hong Kong’s past. Here’s where the Mid-Levels Escalator crosses over and leads on to Shelley Street and that’s where art galleries start getting replaced by restaurants and boutiques for good. Here, you will see two structures that have been regarded the status of ‘Monuments of Hong Kong’ and are no longer functioning in their original capacity: The Central Police Station and Victoria Prison.
They were built as early as 1864 and new buildings were added in over 60 years’ time. You could climb steep onto the Old Bailey Street and have a sneak peek into the decrepit old prison.
Beyond the police station, your stroll of the Hollywood Road will come to an end after you’ve gone the distance onto Wyndham and Pottinger Street. Further off, you’ll be on to Queen’s Road, bringing an end to your Hollywood Road tidings!