Stand in Central district’s Statue Square and you’re right in the region’s financial, political, historical and social heart. Among the steel and glass of sleek skyscrapers surrounding the square are a few old remnants, including the handsome Neo-Classical Legislation Council Building where Hong Kong’s usually low-key. Shopping, a much more popular Hong Kong pursuit, goes on inside the swanky boutiques opposite.
Bank of China Tower
Looming over the HSBC building is the imposing 70-storey Bank of China Tower. It was designed by the renowned architect I M Pei. The tower is a dizzying 368 m high.
Two of Hong Kong’s most up market and, of course, pricey shopping malls – the busy Landmark Centre and the less busy Prince’s Building – sit next to Statue Square. Within these hallowed temples to conspicuous overspending are many of the city’s most exclusive and elegant boutiques, including the likes of Armani, Gucci and Prada.
Standing at the northern edge of Statue Square, the Cenotaphis a memorial to those who died in the two World Wars.
Despite the prime real-estate value on the site of what used to be the old pitch of the Hong Kong Cricket Club, the small but well-tended Chater Garden sprang up instead of a skyscraper. It’s free to enter and makes a good place to enjoy a cold drink and rest tired legs.
Court of Final Appeal
Behind the HSBC building, a hand-some 150-year-old redbrick building used to house a French Catholic mission and the old first Government House. Today it serves as one of Hong Kong’s courts of law.
The Legislative Council Building
One of Hong Kong’s last remaining old buildings, the elegant Neo-Classical Legislative Council building, which used to house the Supreme Court, now serves as Hong Kong’s parliament.
It’s hard to believe, but the Mandarin Oriental was once Hong Kong’s tallest building. Today its graceful exterior seems overwhelmed by the ceaseless traffic, but inside it’s still one of Hong Kong’s finest hotels.
Thomas Jackson Statue
Appropriately enough, one of Hong Kong’s few remaining statues, of a 19th-century banker, is in Statue Square.
HSBC Bank Headquarters
On its completion in 1985, Sir Norman Foster’s bold building was the most expensive ever built, costing more than HK$5bn. The edifice is said to have the strongest feng shui in Hong Kong. Rubbing the paws of the bank’s hand-some lions is said to bring good luck.
Sunday Filipino Fiesta
Hundreds of young Filipinos and Indonesians, mostly domestic workers enjoying their only day off, occupy almost every spare bit of public space in Central.