Walled City foundation uncovered

PUBLISHED : Friday, 10 June, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 10 June, 1994, 12:00am

ARCHAEOLOGISTS have uncovered the foundation of the original wall of the former Kowloon Walled City.

It may be displayed in Hong Kong's first authentic Chinese garden - being constructed on the site.

The foundation of the wall, flagstone pavements and gutters were found during a four-week investigation to trace the remains of the 19th century wall, said Chiu Siu-tsan, curator of the Antiquities and Monuments Office (Culture Division).

''Foundations and walkways of the former south gate are particularly well-preserved,'' Mr Chiu said.

But the most unexpected and important discovery is the two stone tablets of the south gate bearing Chinese characters for ''south gate'' and ''Kowloon Walled City''. They can be traced back to 1886 during the Tao Kwong era of the Qing Dynasty.

The Walled City was constructed in 1847 by the Qing government to strengthen its coastal defence. City walls on four sides were built.

Mr Chiu said the wall's granite blocks were used as construction material for the extension of Kai Tak airport during the Japanese occupation in World War II.

The yamen, or old administrative office, in the city will be restored to form the focus of the future park. The south and north entrance gates will be reconstructed.

Speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony for the park, Acting Director of Architectural Services, Pau Siu-hung, said the park would also capture the essence and style of gardens commonly found in southern China in the early Qing Dynasty.

A team of 100 specialists from a mainland company has been subcontracted to construct landscape architecture in traditional Chinese styles.

The $59 million park is expected to be completed in July next year. The final phase of archaeological investigation started on May 30.

A year-long project to demolish buildings in the Walled City began in March last year after four months of preparation and surveying. Ten bulldozers and excavators were used to flatten the slum.