Nga Tsin Wai: The Last Walled Village of Kowloon

Nga Tsin Wai Village 衙前圍村 is widely known as the last walled village of Kowloon 九龍. Located not far from the former location of the infamous Kowloon Walled City 九龍城寨, the village traces its history back to the 1352 founding of its modest Tin Hau Temple 天后宮. It was fortified in 1724 to defend against bandits and pirates but has, in modern times, lost the moat, walls, and watchtowers that once protected residents from harm. As the very last of its kind in the urban heart of Hong Kong 香港 it has become a flashpoint for conflict between the Urban Renewal Authority and the many activist groups and citizens passionate about preserving what remains of Kowloon’s cultural heritage.

I visited Nga Tsin Wai on my third trip to Hong Kong 香港 in the springtime of 2015. At that time the village was almost completely abandoned with the exception of about a dozen holdouts. In January 2016 the final eviction order was posted and the remaining residents—including the humble barber featured in many human interest stories about the village—were forced out forevermore. Construction fencing has gone up and the URA has undertaken impact assessments that have complicated plans to develop the village into four residential towers.

For more coverage of Nga Tsin Wai in English follow these links here, here, here, here, and here. If you enjoyed this photo essay be sure to check out Kowloon city visions.