There are 123 Declared Monuments in Hong Kong, ranging from ancient rock carvings to ancestral halls to colonial light houses and gas lamps. How many have you been to?
You can find them all on the Hidden Hong Kong Map
1. Rock Carving at Big Wave Bay
Big Wave Bay Rock Carving was first reported in 1970 by a police officer. The design shows dynamic geometric and animal patterns with a worked surface measuring 90cm x 180cm. Like most other carvings, apart from those at Shek Pik and Wong Chuk Hang, it is situated on a headland facing the sea.
2. Rock Carving at Kau Sai Chau
Kau Sai Chau Rock Carving was discovered in 1976. It is located at the north-western coast of Kau Sai Chau where accessibility by land is extremely poor. The design is badly weathered, however, a zoomorphic motif is sort of visible when examined closely.
3. Rock Carving at Tung Lung Chau
This is the earliest recorded rock carving in the territory. There was an entry in the 1819 Xinan Gazetteer, compiled by Wang Chong Xi, stating that the impression depicts the image of a dragon. It is also the largest carving found in Hong Kong, measuring 1.8m by 2.4m.
5. Rock Carving at Shek Pik
Most of the ancient rock carvings in the territory overlook the sea but Shek Pik Rock Carving is about 300m from the coastline. However, in the past, the sea inlet might have extended up to this point. The design shows geometric patterns composed of spiral squares and circles which closely resemble those on Bronze Age artefacts. It is a fair bet therefore that they were carved by early inhabitants of this area in the local Bronze Age some 3,000 years ago.
6. Rock Carvings on Po Toi
There had long been a local legend among the fisherfolk of the existence of rock carvings on Po Toi. Finally, groups of carvings were found at the southern part of Po Toi in the 1960s. They are of different motifs and separated by a rock fracture. One group on the left consists of lines resembling stylized animal and fish patterns, the other on the right is composed of spirals in an inter-locking arrangement.
14. Rock Carvings on Cheung Chau
Cheung Chau Rock Carvings were reported by a geologist in 1970, the same year when Big Wave Bay Rock Carving was discovered. They are situated at the south-eastern end of Tung Wan Beach, immediately below the Warwick Hotel. They consist of two groups of similar design with several carved lines surrounding small depressions. The second group was not completely exposed when found and could only be fully revealed after removal of soil.
4. Rock Inscription at Joss House Bay
The date marked on the inscription carved on the rock at Joss House Bay is the cyclical year of jiaxu of the Xianchun reign during the Southern Song Dynasty (1274), making this the oldest dated inscription to have been found in Hong Kong. The inscription records a visit to the area by a salt administration officer and his friend and relates the history of two temples, one to the north and one to the south of Fat Tong Mun.
7. Tung Chung Fort
Tung Chung Fort, referred to in the Qing Dynasty as the Tung Chung Suocheng, was the naval headquarters of the Right Battalion of Dapeng. The carved granite slab above the entrance gives the date of the Fort as 1832. In 1898 when the New Territories was leased to Britain, the Fort was evacuated by the Qing authorities, then occupied, first as a police station, and then by Wa Ying College, the Rural Committee Office and the Public Primary School of Tung Chung.
9. Tung Lung Fort
Tung Lung Fort was built in the reign of Kangxi to guard against pirates by order of Yang Lin, Viceroy of Guangdong and Guangxi from 1719 to 1724. It consisted of fifteen guardhouses and was armed with eight cannons. A small detachment was stationed at the fort until the beginning of the 19th century, when it proved difficult to cope with a marked increase in piracy. It was replaced by Kowloon Fort in 1810.
Repairs and restoration were carried out between 1979 and 1982. While the restoration work was in progress, a systematic archaeological excavation of the interior of the fort was conducted by the Antiquities and Monuments Office.
11. Fan Lau Fort, Lantau Island
Fan Lau Fort, built in 1729. The fort measures 46m by 21m and its walls are built of semi-dressed stone and green bricks. It was believed that the fort was once occupied by pirates. However, after the surrender of pirates to the Qing government in 1810, the fort would have been retaken by government troops.
Initial restoration work was undertaken in early 1985. This was followed by a large scale restoration and repair project in 1990 which also provided for the clearance of the surrounding area.
18. Site of Chinese Customs Station
The Viceroy of Guangdong and Guangxi ordered the establishment of three customs stations in 1868 at Fat Tau Chau, Cheung Chau and Kap Shui Mun (Ma Wan) to collect likin on the opium trade. These stations ceased to operate in 1899 after the lease of the New Territories to Britain.
Fat Tau Chau Old Chinese Customs Station was discovered in 1962. The ruin is so regarded as a customs station after the discovery of a stone slab broken into four pieces with inscriptions: "By the Grace (of the Emperor), tributes are accepted from and customs exchange with Annam, which is far away (from China). Renovated by the Manager of the Customs Station".
20. Remains of Pottery Kiln
Wun Yiu, Tai Po was once a centre of the porcelain industry in the New Territories. As early as the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), clans of Man and Tse had started manufacturing the blue and white porcelain. The Ma clan, a group of Hakka people originated from Changle county in Guangdong province, settled in Tai Po and purchased the kilns from the Man clan in 1674. The industry declined in the early 20th century due to competition from good quality and inexpensive porcelain produced by other kilns in Guangdong. The kilns at Wun Yiu ceased to operate in 1932.
10. Sam Tung Uk Village
Hakka walled village built by the Chan clan in 1786. After moving from Guangdong in the mid-18th century, the clan settled in Tsuen Wan. Founded by Chan Yam-shing, a leader of the clan, who constructed three rows of village houses, later expanded by his descendants who built annexes on both sides and at the back of the houses. The ancestral altar was placed in the main hall, on the central axis and facing the main entrance. Four Chinese characters signifying ‘Chan Family Ancestral Hall’ are engraved on the granite lintel above the door frame. The village was restored in 1987 and opened to the public as the Sam Tung Uk Museum.
13. Sheung Yiu Village
Situated within the boundaries of Sai Kung Country Park, Sheung Yiu is a Hakka village that was built in the 19th century by the Wong clan, who originally came from Bao’an County in Guangdong Province. Constructed on a raised platform with a watchtower overlooking the entrance, the village features a row of eight houses with a drying terrace at the front. The village prospered due to its lime kiln, as there was a great demand for the production of mortar in construction and as fertiliser in agriculture. The advent of modern bricks and cement, however, led to its gradual decline.
The village was opened as the Sheung Yiu Folk Museum in 1983 after full restoration. Furnished with farming implements and period furniture, the museum recreates the atmosphere and environment of a small Hakka village. The original lime kiln has also been restored for public viewing.
15. Tin Hau Temple, Causeway Bay
Built in the early 18th century by the Tai family, a family of Hakkas from Guangdong, who first settled in Kowloon. The temple, now located inland as a consequence of land reclamation, was originally on the waterfront.
19. Man Lun Fung Ancestral Hall
The Man clan is one of the 'Five Major Clans' in Hong Kong. Although it was not the first clan settled in the territory, the Man clan already started its settlement in San Tin and Tai Hang as early as the 15th century. The Ancestral Hall, situated on the low lying ground of San Tin, was built more than 200 years ago to commemorate one of the clan's ancestors, Man Lun-fung. The building follows the traditional style, having three halls and two enclosed open courtyards.
It was restored in 1987 with donations from the Hong Kong Jockey Club. It was renovated again in 1995 with funds provided by the Government.
23. Man Mo Temple, Tai Po
The Man Mo Temple was built about 100 years ago by the Tsat Yeuk Community of Tai Po to mark the founding of Tai Wo Shi (Tai Wo Market Town) which is now commonly known as Tai Po Market. Full restoration of the temple was undertaken by the Tai Po Tsat Yeuk Rural Committee in 1985 with technical advice and a subsidy from the Government.
30. Liu Man Shek Tong Ancestral Hall
Liu Chung-kit, of the Liu clan in Sheung Shui, migrated from Fujian to Guangdong in the Yuan dynasty (1279-1368). Initially settling in Tuen Mun and then the village of Futian, he put down roots around the Sheung Yue River in Sheung Shui, from where his descendants spread. In the 18th century, the Lius were very rich and prosperous, and this was reflected in this ancestral hall, built in 1751.
In 1932, the ancestral hall was converted into Fung Kai School to provide modern education. The school was moved to new premises in 1974. Restoration works on the Liu Man Shek Tong Ancestral Hall were undertaken in 1984 and 1994.
8. Duddell Street Steps and Gas Lamps
A series of maps of Hong Kong from the period indicate that they came into existence between 1875 and 1889. According to the records of the Hong Kong and China Gas Co., the four gas lamps at the top and bottom of the steps have been the only surviving working gas street lamps in Hong Kong since 1967.
Two-light Rochester models made by Suggs and Co., the gas lamps were designed in a shorter length than was standard at the time in order to allow them to be mounted on the parapets of the steps. Originally lit manually, they are now operated automatically.
3 of the 4 gas lamps and granite ballastrading were badly damaged in Typhoon Mangkhut in September 2018.
12. Old District Office North
The Old District Office North was erected around 1907 and was the earliest seat of the civil administration of the newly-leased New Territories. Administration and land registration of the northern part of the New Territories were carried out in this building. Until 1961, the building still housed a magistrate's court. It is now used by the New Territories Eastern Region Headquarters of the Scout Association of Hong Kong.
17. Island House
When it was built in 1905, Island House stood on a small islet called Yuen Chau Tsai near the head of Tolo Harbour, which was connected to the mainland by a causeway. The two-storey plastered building with open verandas is a classic example of the colonial architecture at the turn of the century. It was erected as quarters for government officers and was long associated with the former New Territories Administration. It is now used by the World Wide Fund for Nature as a Conservation Studies Centre.
24. Hong Kong Observatory
Standing on a small hill in Kowloon, the Hong Kong Observatory was established in 1883 and designated as the Royal Observatory, Hong Kong in 1912. Built in the Victorian-Colonial style, it is a rectangular two-storey plastered brick structure characterised by arched windows and long verandas. The technical and operational units of the Observatory have been moved to new premises nearby, leaving the old building to house the office of the directorate and serve as the administration centre. Hong Kong Observatory resumed its original name when Hong Kong returned to Chinese sovereignty on 1 July 1997.
25. Old Stanley Police Station
Built in 1859, the Old Stanley Police Station is the oldest surviving police station in Hong Kong. During the Japanese Occupation (1941-1945), the Japanese Gendarmerie occupied the station as its local headquarters, and a mortuary was built onto the building. After the war, the building resumed its original role as a police station until 1974. It was then taken over by the sub-offices of several government departments until 1991. It is now a supermarket.
26. The Exterior of the Old Supreme Court
Built on reclaimed land on a foundation comprising hundreds of piles made from Chinese fir trees, the Old Supreme Court Building was opened on 15 January 1912 by the then Governor, Sir Frederick Lugard. Supported by tall Ionic columns, the three-storey granite building is Neo-classical in style; its most outstanding feature is the pediment in the centre section, which is surmounted by a blindfolded statue of Justice personified in the form of the Greek goddess Themis. It housed the Legislative Council Chambers from 1985 to 2011 and, following renovation work, has accommodated the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal since 2015.
71. Waglan Lighthouse
A naval surveyor Commander Reed, was instructed in 1867 to investigate suitable locations for lighthouses to cover the approaches to Hong Kong’s port, and he proposed Waglan Island and Gap Rock. However, neither sites lay in Hong Kong waters and it was not pursued. Towards the end of the 19th century the proposal was revived and Waglan Lighthouse was built by the Chinese Customs Light Department of the Imperial Maritime Customs in 1893; it commenced operations on 9 May of the same year.
72. Tang Lung Chau Lighthouse
Also known as Kap Sing Lighthouse, Tang Lung Chau Lighthouse came into service in 1912. Standing 11.8 metres tall, it is a skeletal steel tower with a white lantern on top, both of which were obtained from England. The adjoining brick keeper’s house has a bedroom, kitchen, toilet and storeroom. With no fresh water supply on the island, rainwater was collected from the roof and diverted into an underground tank. Tang Lung Chau Lighthouse has served thousands of vessels approaching Hong Kong from the west since the early 20th century. Managed by the Marine Department, the lighthouse is now automated and unmanned.
80. Cape D'Aguilar Lighthouse
Put into service on 16 April 1875, Cape D'Aguilar Lighthouse on the southeast shore of Hong Kong Island is the oldest surviving lighthouse in Hong Kong.
Cape D'Aguilar Lighthouse is named after Major-General Sir George Charles D'Aguilar (1784–1855), who served as Lieutenant Governor of Hong Kong and Commander of the British Forces in Hong Kong from 1843 to 1848. The commissioning of Waglan Island Lighthouse in 1893 meant that Cape D'Aguilar Lighthouse became superfluous, and it was taken out of service in 1896. The disused first-order light was removed and, together with the light apparatus, subsequently transferred to Green Island in 1905 to replace the fourth-order light there. It was not until 1975 that the Cape D'Aguilar Lighthouse lantern was re-lit and automated.
Standing 9.7 metres tall, the lighthouse structure is a round granite tower. Both the tower base and the arched doorway are built of rustic stone blocks, while the iron door is crowned with a geometric decoration.
86. Green Island Lighthouse Compound
The Green Island lighthouse compound comprises an old lighthouse built in 1875, a new lighthouse built in 1904, former European quarters and a former keeper’s house. The Green Island lighthouse started operation on 1 July 1875, about three months after Hong Kong’s first lighthouse was erected at Cape D’Aguilar. A plan to move the lantern of the Cape D’Aguilar lighthouse to Green Island was proposed in 1901, and this required the construction of a taller and larger tower to accommodate it.
Today, the former quarters, the former keeper’s house and the surrounding area (except for the two lighthouses) are leased to the Wu Oi Christian Centre as a youth drug treatment and rehabilitation centre.
87. 6 Historic Structures of Pok Fu Lam Reservoir
Water supply in Hong Kong before the 1860s mainly relied on basic sources such as wells and streams. The continual increase in the population and the accompanying expansion of the city from the middle of the 19th century onwards made the permanent provision of fresh water resources a matter of great urgency and accelerated the construction of reservoirs. The first water supply scheme was mooted during the governorship of Sir Hercules Robinson from 1859 to 1865. Completed in 1863, Pok Fu Lam Reservoir was the first reservoir ever built in Hong Kong; a series of extensions was undertaken between 1866 and 1871.
88. 22 Historic Structures of Tai Tam Group of Reservoirs
To cater for increasing demand for water after the completion of Pok Fu Lam Reservoir, much larger reservoirs and more complex water supply systems were constructed as part of the Tai Tam Scheme and Tai Tam Tuk Scheme between 1883 and 1917.
89. 3 Historic Structures of Wong Nai Chung Reservoir
The construction of the Former Wong Nai Chung Reservoir was completed in 1899 at a cost of $8,200, with a storage capacity of 27 million gallons - 38% of that of Pokfulam Reservoir. It was the third reservoir built in Hong Kong. As other larger reservoirs were constructed, the Wong Nai Chung Reservoir gradually became superfluous, and in 1982 it was allocated to the then Urban Services Department (USD) for conversion into Wong Nai Chung Reservoir Park - a country park with boating, fishing and other recreational facilities like picnic and barbecue areas, refreshment kiosks and children’s play areas.
90. 4 Historic Structures of Aberdeen Reservoir
Comprising the Upper Reservoir (constructed in 1931) and the Lower Reservoir (constructed in 1932), Aberdeen Reservoir was built to augment Pok Fu Lam Reservoir and solve the problem of water shortages in the western part of Hong Kong Island. It became the fourth and last reservoir ever built on Hong Kong Island after Pok Fu Lam Reservoir, the Tai Tam Group of Reservoirs and Wong Nai Chung Reservoir.
91. 5 Historic Structures of Kowloon Reservoir
Constructed between 1901 and 1910, Kowloon Reservoir was the fourth reservoir in Hong Kong, but the first to be built on the Kowloon Peninsula in response to the growth of the population there. It radically changed the way in which water was supplied to the Kowloon Peninsula, with rainwater collected in the reservoir replacing well water and subterranean water pumped out by the Yau Ma Tei Pumping Station.
92. Memorial Stone of Shing Mun Reservoir
Commenced in 1923, the construction of Shing Mun Reservoir took 14 years to complete. The massive scale of the project meant that water could be supplied to cater to the needs of the residents of Kowloon Peninsula, but also to relieve the pressure on demand on densely populated Hong Kong Island via the cross-harbour mains, and this made it the largest reservoir of the pre-war period to provide water for both sides of the harbour.