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Victoria Peak

 
 
 
The Peak, 1957Schools of birds flying high above the ancient trees

Dense fog makes I feel like am in paradise

The old path is winding round the verdant mountaintop

Command a full view of a new world from the gap

The night scene below is breathtakingly matchless
 

                                                                             Peter Codder


The PeakNothing can match a trip to the

Victoria Peak

  (San Deng called by locals in Cantonese), which is the highest hill on Hong Kong Island, height 552m above sea level, the panoramic view of Hong Kong, Kowloon, Victoria Harbour and some of the outlying islands are really breathtaking. You can take the Peak Tram up to the hilltop. Try to ride on the right side of the tram (the side closest to the entrances) that you will get a better view. The magnificent Peak Tower has shops, restaurants, Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum and an observation deck, which commands a great view, either day or night, over the grand scenic

Victoria Harbour

. Have a day walk on the paths on the Peak is an excellent choice for your Hong Kong tour. You can see many westerners jogging there. 

It is said that the original Chinese name of the Peak was "Ying Tou Shan" (Mount Hard Head). It has been known as Hill of Raising Flag, Furnace Hill or Mount Austin. Later on, the British named the Peak after the Queen Victoria (1819 - The Peak1901), which the name has still been used nowadays.

In nineteenth century the Peak was a natural standing post for incoming cargo ships on

Victoria Harbour

. About 1868 Hong Kong Governor Sir Richard MacDonnell's summer home was built to take advantage of the cooler climate. Soon other wealthy people followed suit, and many of them traveled up and down the steep hill paths by sedan chair, which were carried by their personal staff of uniformed bearers. From 1904, the Peak was designated an exclusive residential area reserved only for expatriates. This practice ended in 1947.

Further development of the Peak did not really occur until 1881, when Alexander Findlay Smith, who had worked for Scotland's Highland Railway, managed to petition the Governor Sir John Pope-Hennessy, to operate Peak Tram routes. One of them was connecting the south of Murray Barracks to Victoria Gap on the Peak. Mr. Findlay Smith hoped that the tram The Peakwould increase visitor traffic and boost business at the

Peak Hotel

  which opened in 1873 on land he owned. It was destroyed in a fire in 1938.

On May 30, 1888 Governor Sir George William des Voeux officially inaugurated this important transport for the commuters on the Peak. The Peak Tram was operated by coal-fired steam boilers then, serving 600 passengers on its first day of operation and about 150,000 in its first year. Between 1908 and 1949, the first two seats were reserved for the use of the governor and were not released to other The Peakpassengers until two minutes prior to departure time. A brass plaque on the back read : "This seat is reserved for His Excellency, the Governor."

In 1926, an electrically powered system had been introduced. However, following the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong on December 1941, the Peak Tram's engine room was badly damaged in an attack, and the service resumed in December 1945. The Hollywood came knocking and the Peak Tram was featured in the 1950s movie, Soldier of Fortune, starring Clark Gable. The opening and closing scenes were shot inside the tram. The Peak Tram was also appeared in an episode of the TV soap opera Love Boat.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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