Hong Kong’s massive Kowloon Walled City was once the most densely populated place on Earth. Right up until it’s demolition in the early 90s, close to 50,000 people lived on a mere six acres. And yet few people have heard of this nearly mythical place.
Its very existence has been described as a “historical accident,” and the truth behind the legend will leave you speechless.
Get ready for the fascinating story of Hong Kong’s Walled City.
Kowloon was a trading outpost until the era of British colonialism, when it became a walled military fort. After the war, neither China nor Britain wanted responsibility for the small territory, so both countries washed their hands of Kowloon.
Refugees soon flocked there, and the unregulated construction of over 300 interconnected towers began.
As more people arrived, the towers grew higher, and by 1990, over 50,000 people lived in just 7 acres of land.
People used dark, narrow alleyways between the buildings to move throughout the city, sometimes carrying umbrellas to avoid the water pipes constantly dripping down on their heads. These conditions earned Kowloon the nickname “City of Darkness.”
Crime was everywhere. Drug dealers, brothels, and gambling dens could be found living right next door to families. There were also no municipal services, and residents disposed of waste on the city’s rooftops.
Despite the poor conditions, many former residents have fond memories of their time at Kowloon. The close quarters led to a tight-knit community that was “poor but happy.”
But with living conditions deteriorating and media attention increasing, Hong Kong’s government spent $2.7 billion to relocate Kowloon’s residents, and the city was demolished in 1993.
Today, a similar Hong Kong community brings back memories of Kowloon. Roughly 5,000 people from over 129 countries live and work in a single building called the Chungking Mansions. Originally a residential building, it now contains over 90 hotels, restaurants, and stores.
Like Kowloon, Chungking Mansions was rife with drugs and criminal activity in the 80s and 90s. Today, it’s a popular offbeat tourist attraction for its architecture and cultural significance.
You might not be able to see Kowloon today, but luckily this video provides a peek inside this forgotten world!
Can you believe that places like this once existed? It’s like looking into another world entirely…
Share the fascinating story with your friends and family below!
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